It’s the business end of the South London & Kent Pool Alliance and with one week left to play, Allstars and Pickwick have joined already crowned Division Two champions, New Eltham New Boys in winning the Premier Division and first division respectively. 


Allstars have been top of the Premier Division all season and this week’s, 11-4 victory over bottom team, Crayford A cemented them as champions for the second year running. 


Pushing Allstars all the way have been Hotshots and their, 10-5 triumph over second bottom, Rugrats meant they were now 16 points behind their adversaries and could no longer catch them mathematically, making next week’s fixture between the two a dead rubber, but I’m sure the teams won’t see it that way. 


Crayford are now eleven points behind Rugrats, and it will be a battle between these two to see who will occupy the relegation spot, as Crayford can no longer catch Rose Inn, after their surprise victory over high flying Sharks. 


This match was incredibly close considering the four places and 21 points between them, with each set being won by the odd frame, 3-2. 


The frames in the first set alternated between the two teams, with Vu Son winning the set decider to put Sharks, 3-2 ahead. 


Rahat Munim increased their lead to, 4-2, with the first frame of the second set, but Dean Greany-Parr, Jack Wilson and Neil Mundy won the next three frames to win the set and take the overall lead, 5-4. 


Arif Salih took the tenth frame to tie the match and that was followed by wins for Munim and Vu Son to restore Sharks two frame lead, 7-5. 


Sharks needed just one frame from the remaining three to win the match however, Rose Inn had other ideas, as Brett Wilson and Greany-Parr equalised to send the match into a final frame decider. 


Lewis Hearn held his nerve to beat Salih and give Rose Inn a shock, 8-7 triumph. 


Given how tight this match was, it came as no surprise that each team had only one unbeaten player; Greany-Parr for Rose Inn and Sharks’ Munim, both winning all three of their frames. 


This result puts Rose Inn four points ahead of Rugrats, but with Eltham Terrace Club A’s recent withdrawal from the league, Rose Inn do not have a game next week, so Rugrats journey to The Fox will be even more important, as they look for more than four points to escape the relegation zone. 


At the top of the table, Sharks are in fourth, one point ahead of The Fox and two behind Bellegrove, after they were narrowly beaten by Bull Tavern. 


It’s always a tough game between these two teams and that was proved when Bull took the first set, 3-2. 


However, that soon changed, as Bull Tavern won the first four frames of the second set, to take a, 7-2 lead. 


Barry Barham prevented the set whitewash, winning frame ten and sparked a comeback, with Bellegrove stringing four frames together themselves, which included James Couch winning his only frame and Peter Whyte recording a dish from a dry break, to bring the game back to within one frame at, 7-6. 


Tony Gear took the penultimate frame to give Bull the match and Barham, again won the last frame of the set to make the final score, 8-7. 


Bellegrove hold onto third, but there are only six points between them and their opponents in sixth, so any two of Bellegrove, Sharks, The Fox and Bull Tavern can finish in the two prize positions of third and fourth. 


This is made even more interesting as Sharks play Bull Tavern, while The Fox and Bellegrove play the bottom two respectively. 


Pickwick have been dominant in SLKPA Division One all season and they took a massive step towards being crowned the division champions by whitewashing the first set against Fox & Hounds. 


Neil Shelton put Fox & Hounds first frame on the board with the sixth frame, but Paul Gafa, Jason Verillo and Dave Pile won the next three frames to give Pickwick the set and the match before the end of the second set.


Kerry Wyatt won frame ten to make the overall score, 8-2, but Pickwick’s domination continued in the third set, just as it had done all season, winning the first two frames of the set to go into double figures. 


Kerry’s father, Tom Wyatt scored Fox’s third frame of the night in the thirteenth, before Gafa and Martin Storey wrapped it up for Pickwick, finishing off, 12-3 winners to take the Division One title. 


Pickwick had their sights set on the title and were ruthless, none more than Pile and Gafa, who both scored hat-tricks, with Gafa’s being his tenth of the league season, showing why he is number one in the division rankings. 


Eltham Terrace Nuthouse stay in second, 22 points behind Pickwick and 15 ahead of third after a victory over bottom team, Rugrats Guardians earned them automatic promotion back to the top division, and just like Pickwick, at the first time of asking. 


The first set went true to form, with Nuthouse whitewashing it, 5-0. 


Luke Matthews picked up Guardians first frame with frame six, but Trevor Biggs and Louis Wilbourne won the next two frames to put Nuthouse on the hill. 


Ross Webster won frame nine to prevent Nuthouse from winning the match before the end of the second set, tying the set in the process and sending it into a deciding frame.


Dave Beshaw took this frame to give Guardians a surprise, 3-2 set win, making the overall score, 7-3. 


Nuthouse were still looking for a frame to win the match and the search went on as Martin Hart and Matthews won the first two frames of the second set, to make it four in a row for Guardians to reduce Nuthouse’s lead to, 7-5. 


Trevor Biggs won frame thirteen to finally give Nuthouse the match and Jon Syta won the penultimate frame to send the second set in a row to a final frame decider. 


This time Lower Division Singles champ, Alex Biggs was successful to give Nuthouse the set and a, 10-5 triumph. 


Trevor Biggs was the only unbeaten player for Nuthouse this week, with a maximum three out of three. 


Matthews did his best to prevent Guardians relegation, by winning both his frames, but it was all in vain, as they are now 28 points away from safety and will be relegated to Division Two next winter season. 


They may also be the only team in the division not to reach 100 points, as they are still thirteen points away and play the team above them, Just Bellegrove next week. 


Just Bellegrove also suffered a big loss this week, 11-4 against New Eltham New Stars, who are looking to secure the promotion play-off place now the automatic slots have gone. 


It was a great all-round team performance, with Steve Knight, Ron Brown and Steve Pearce all scoring unbeaten hat-tricks. 


Just Bellegrove still have a lot of work to do to avoid relegation, as they are nine points away from the relegation play-off spot and fourteen away from guaranteed safety. 


At the other end it looks like New Stars may have won the battle for the promotion play-off spot, as they are ten points ahead of Eltham Terrace Rack Pack, despite their, 8-7 triumph over Falconwood Club. 


Chris Parlett was man of the match, scoring an unbeaten brace. 


Rack Pack will have a tough time catching New Stars next week, as they will be playing Nuthouse while New Stars face Academicals who are currently in eighth. 


Academicals were involved in another relegation dogfight, as they were playing Bellegrove A, who were just four points and one place above them, in the first place of guaranteed safety. 


Bellegrove made their task even more difficult by only fielding four players, but they fought hard and were only, 2-1 down when they had to forfeit the fourth frame, giving Academicals the first set. 


Captain John Skuza won frame five to bring his team back to within a frame at, 3-2.


 Jack Taylor equalised but three frames on the bounce from Shane Hutley, Gary Mason and Louis Newnham (bye) gave Academicals the second set, before Joe Hills took frame ten to make the second set score, 3-2 as well. 


Academicals had a, 6-4 lead going into the final set, which was effectively, 7-4 because of the forfeit frame, so for the third game this season Bellegrove had to win all the playable frames in the final set for victory. 


In their previous attempts they had won one and lost one, and this attempt started well, with Jack Taylor winning frame eleven. 


The next frame was given to Hutley to complete his hat-trick, then Skuza and Hills both won to tie the match, sending it into a final frame decider. 


Academicals were pinning their hopes on Chris Bracey, playing his first frame, while Bellegrove were looking to Nick Morris, who was yet to win a frame, but it was Bellegrove who had the momentum and Morris used that to his advantage to take the final frame and complete Bellegrove’s remarkable comeback to win, 8-7. 


Even though they recorded seven frame wins only two players played and won those frames, as Hutley won two out of two and was handed a bye for his hat-trick and Gary Mason was successful in two of his three frames, with the other two frames being forfeit. 


All of the Bellegrove players chipped in with at least one win each, but Captain, Skuza and Hills won two of their three frames and Taylor went one better scoring a hat-trick. 


It’s going to be a tense time at the bottom of the first division next week, as four teams, Just Bellegrove, Academicals, Bellegrove A and Falconwood Club can all finish in the relegation zone, although Falconwood can only drop to the play-off spot. 


In the League Cup Group B, Royal Oak had to overturn a, 10-5 first leg defeat against Sea the Angles if they wanted to proceed to the final. 


It didn’t start well for them, as Sea the Angles took the first set, 3-2 with Dan Brown, Reece Stewart and Donna Mullins picking up the frames.


The next set went exactly the same way, with Angie Hobbs joining Brown and Mullins in the winner’s enclosure to give them an unassailable aggregate lead. 


With a place in the final guaranteed you can understand the Angles taking their foot off the gas a little and they might well have done, as Royal Oak took the final set, 3-2 to make the score on the night, 8-7 and, 18-12 on aggregate. 


Brown and Mullins won the frames in the final set for their hat-tricks. 


League Cup Group A has three teams and Anglesea Arms, 10-5 victory over Farmhouse last week meant that it was a must win for both Farmhouse and New Eltham New Boys this week, if they want to make the final. 


The New Boys got off to an excellent start winning the first set, 4-1 with victories from Anthony Lee, Melissa Barnes, Billy Russell and a break and dish from Dave Fulkes after potting four balls off the break.


New Boys also took the second set, 4-1 to have the match won before the start of the last set and knock Farmhouse out of the cup. 


Russell and Melissa Barnes were joined by Michael Barnes with second set triumphs and Dave Fulkes played the same player from the first set, who must have wished he hadn’t bothered, as Fulkes dished him again, with some scintillating pots and positional play. 


Frame difference may decide which of New Boys or Anglesea Arms go through to the final, so New Boys had to go for the jugular however, Farmhouse were playing for pride and won the last set, 3-2 to make the final score, 10-5.


It was a wonderful all-round team performance from New Boys, but it wasn’t a boy who was player of the match, that accolade went to Melissa Barnes, who completed an excellent hat-trick, with Russell, Lee and Fulkes also unbeaten, each scoring a brace. 


Next week sees the New Boys in a winner takes all head to head against the Anglesea Arms to see who plays Sea the Angles in the League Cup final on Thursday 19 March at Eltham Terrace.



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