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A Team Report: Berks 21 - 23 London

Inter CountyBerkshire A 21 - 23 London A
Reading, 19th August 2012

Set scores: 7 - 5 - 4 - 7

The day didn't start too well, with a lot of players missing from the squad including some letting us down on the day. Unfortunately, a lot of these were players who would have been playing in the A's, which inevitably has quite a knock-on effect on the B's, C's, and in the case (there being no Juniors at Berks) the Ladies team too.

More will be said elsewhere about attendance, I'm sure. All I'll say for now is that it's the first time in my long memory that the A's have been forced to call up this many from the B team, despite the fact that it's something which is bound to happen on occasion, so we should be careful not to be too concerned about it. And all the more so since the day ended up proving what a great squad we have... what with the Bs winning so well too, and the squad pulling together without complaint... on the day, at least,

Five were called up from the B team in all: Tony Bailey (a former national champion with the A's), Danny Moffat (who gave us an excellent 3 out of 4 when he turned out for As before, coincidentally in the same fixture last year), Pat McLoughlin and Jordan O'Connor (both of whom have been performing consistently well for London over a period of time and both of whom have been in good form this year including winning GLCPA singles events), and Tony Gear (who has only played 16 frames for the Bs this season but had won 15 of them - stats which simply cannot be ignored). They all acquitted themselves very well. Pat, Dan, and Jordan can consider themselves unlucky not to get more than 1 win each, Tony Bailey won 2 including a crucial one at the end. And Tony Gear was a little lucky to scrape through his first... but it's not often someone wins 4/4 without getting a little lucky in one of them. It has to be one of the most assured A team debuts I've ever seen, with an impressive combination of taking the finish when it was clearly there, but also of developing and holding shots when it wasn't. Composed and intelligent pool, nice to see.

So anyway, the first set featured 4 nice break-and-dishes, and all of them for Berkshire (against Jordan, Danny, Jon, and myself). But we won it 7-4 and you can't do a lot more than win all the frames that you get a shot in.

Berkshire nicked the second set 6-5 putting us 12-10 up at the halfway stage. At this point there was quite a long break for food. It's a policy which I don't think any of us like. But I think it's something you have to accept if that's the best way for a particular venue to do it. Hopefully they'll work out how to get the timings a bit better, in time. It didn't seem to help us, anyway, and we suffered a 7-4 reverse in the 3rd set. Joe's only loss of the day came at this point... he had to play a tricky slow shot the length of the table which was always nudging the black ball towards the pocket and ended up nudging it a bit too much. The tables were nice enough, I thought, but the corner pockets were very generous to slow-moving balls (but bouncing out quite a bit in the middles). Dan lost to a cracking double on the black.

So, we went into the last set 17-16 down, and lost the next 3 to go 20-16 down (including another break-and-dish, against Jerry). Chris was unlusky, for the 2nd frame in a row pulling off tricky shots only to get unlucky and snooker himself, or leave a ball he'd tried to pot (out of one of those snookers) tantalisingly on the lip of the pocket. On a day when we've won the match it's nice to be able to say that a few of our players deserved a bit more individually.

From 20-16 we had to win 7 of the next 8, and so we did. At 21-20 down, Tony Bailey and myself both managed to win at around the same time, leaving Jon Runghen to play the last frame, for the match, with the rest of the squad (the B team had finished their match by now) gathered round to support us. It was a typically accomplished frame, but he'd probably have preferred not to leave himself in a nasty chinese snooker on the black - having to play away from a ball near a corner pocket to pot it into the middle at a bit of an angle. Really tricky shot especially in the circumstances, but Jon nailed it to complete a fantastic come-back.

Individual scores:

Joe 3
Adam 1
Jerry 2
Jordan 1
Chris 2
Dan 1
Pat 1
Jon 3
Tony B 2
Rupe 3
Tony G 4

Joe's 3/4 means that he's joint 4th in the regional rankings, which is all the more impressive when you see that he's just a frame behind the 3 in front of him, but Joe's played 4 fewer frames.


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