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Week 13 1st Division write up –

The Marshside Elite kept their noses in front at the top of the table after Fleetwood Hesketh A eased past the visiting S & B lads 5-1 to open up a 2point lead over the chasing pack. Andy Booth made a welcomed return to the side, edging out Paul Parker 70-62 with Mike Roberts beating Russ Thornley with a bit to spare. The scoring didn’t ease in the middle pairings as Martin Brown beat James Payne on the final colours 78-66 as Dean Oliver racked up his best score at home this year beating Dave Green easily 81-30. Four nil down, only five men on the night, Fleetwood still to play Gareth Hibbott, surely a 6-0 whitewash was on the cards, but no, step forward S & B’s captain Dave Palmer to save the day. In only his third meeting against Gareth in the league, 2-0 down and a points record of 23 for and some 203 against, with breaks of 52, 66 & 34 put past him, Mario Brothers long lost cousin Dave Palmer came out a 69-59 winner to land a blow to Gareth’s impressive recent run. As things stand, the Cricket lad’s havn’t won one in five now and face the basement side Bretherton next, with the divisional leaders looking to maintain their winning streak when taking on Southport Cons.

Argyle LTC are two points back on Fleetwood after beating Birkdale Cons A 4-2, their fourth win on the bounce now, keeping them in touch to maybe hold on to their Champions title come April the 9th. John Holmes gave Phil Fitzgerald a torrid time in the opening frame, beating him 69-8, though Tony Roberts squared things up when beating Brian Jarrett by 50 points 78-28. The middle frames all went the way of the home side as they saw wins for Danny Jassi, Ste Forshaw & Paddy Tyndall, Danny making a solid break of 45 on his way to beating Mick Wardle 91-45. But Birkdale kept the result a bit more manageable when Paul Shawcross beat Ste Cooper on the final colours 68-60 to keep the loss down to the minimum 2 points. Birkdale stay best placed of the chasing pack sitting third in the table as Argyle stay in the hunt trying to stay in touch with Fleetwood.

Due to results going their way Churchtown Cons A moved up to 4th in the table despite only registering a 3-3 draw with the visiting Southport Cons A team. The opening frames where bossed by the home side as Craig Rice dished up a 30 point victory over Matty Pollock, and Trevor Wetton seeing off Drake Crook 76-42. Churchtown’s Dave Harwood moved to 5 wins on the season when beating Mike Langford by plenty, 70-27, with Tom Mortimore handing James Shaw his 5th league defeat of the season, coming on the final black 61-54. Three-One up and the potential of win number 5 on the cards you would have got short odds one of Mick Coxon or Les Prescott getting one of the last two frames to register that win, but the Bath Street pair of Nobby Lee & Andy Ward had other ideas. Nobby produced his best form so far when beating Mick by 45 points as Andy Ward got the better of Les on the final black 49-42, to gain a valuable 3-3 draw on the night for the Bath street side.

The Tarleton Derby matches have produced some strange result over their times, some stuffing’s and some right ole ding-dong results, and there was another classic upset last week when the lowly D team beat the A Team 4-2 so holding on to the bragging rights for a while now. The two captains went on first with the D teams Dale Roberts beating Colin Boston 76-45 as the A teams Rob Iddon fired in breaks of 44 & 39 to comfortably beat Richard Gaskell 90-30. The D team pair of Paul Crabtree and John Greenwood stepped up to the mark in their matches as young Crabby beat Tim Dutton with a bit to spare and John Greenwood, using the years’ experience he has, to see off Chris Hoare well before the final colours 77 points to 10. Three-One up, just needing the one frame to register a big win over their big boy A team brothers, Andy Bolton was in no mood to give in as he comfortably beat Kyle ‘Cheezy’ Prescott 80-32, making a fine 34 break in doing so, but young Connor Ormerod seems to be finding his feet now as he beat Marcus Jackson 69-31 to gain the frame and 4-2 victory for his side.

Banks A have managed to put a little bit more daylight between themselves and bottom placed Bretherton A after coming out of last week’s match a 4-2 winner. The opening frames got shared out as Martin Sephton lost out to Dave Cottam 36-65 with Al Sutton beating Gordon Russell helped along by a nice break of 25 in doing so. Nothing could split the sides after the conclusion of the middle frames got played out either. Alan Johnson broke his duck for the season, at last, when beating Grant Mackenzie on the final black 54-47 as Ron Dickinson got one over Billy Cummings to register win number six for the Bretherton man. But it was the home advantage that counted in the end as both John Prescott & Mark Rollins brought home team win number three when they beat Jim Holden & Callum Mackenzie.

Division 2 -

Our Lady’s maintained their position at the top of the table, cut to three points now, after losing 4-2 against Birkdale Cons D, though it could have been so much different on the night had things gone their way. Close frame number one went to Alan Parker when he beat Steve McClusky 62-51 with no doubt about who was winning the other opening frame as Tony Brookfield blasted past Ian Knowles 74 points to 7. Close call frames then became the story of the night as Mark Abbott took a slim 10 point victory over Danny Mycek for Birkdale as Mark Winkley got the final black for his 47-43 frame win. That black ball finish was repeated in the frame between John Delahunty & Luke Marshall with John taking it by the narrowest of margins 57-56, phew, with Alec Davies cruising to a 63-22 victory over Ged Aindow. This was the Formby mobs first defeat since the beginning of October. So watch out Scarisbrick A next week, as Birkdale travel to 2nd placed Tarleton B.

As with the first division Tarleton Derby, this one between the Tarleton B team and the C team went the way of the form book as the B team ran out 4-2 winners, to maintain their hunt of the Formby lads at the top of the table. Things got off to a flyer for the B team as Ste Gautrey got a birthday win over Pete Burns followed up with Jason Swarbrick easing past Dean Bond 70-31. The C teams Shaun Fisher showed some good potting form to see off Andy Marsden by 50 points in his frame as Neil Rigden upset the odds when beating the one time Player Rankings leader Andy Johnson 57-39, this being Neil’s first win of the season…!! The win for the B team was completed when Sugar Ray Forshaw posted a 40 point win over Jimmy Jones with as Phil Keep got one back when turning over John Gautrey on the final colours 67-41.

With the division playing out as tight as it is at the moment, only five points separate the top six in the division, none of the chasing pack can count themselves out of it. So avoiding any sort of defeat is paramount, something the Railway B team did last week coming back from 3-1 down to secure a 3-3 draw against Scarisbrick A. John Mullard got the ball rolling when beating Martin Wood with plenty to spare 63-21 as Dennis Woodward beat Ian Tinsley, helped along by a good break of 29, 72 points to 44. But the middle frames belonged to the home side as Mark Sowerby beat Andy Linaker ably assisted by Ron Calder who proved too good for Ray Highton. But the two Phil’s of the Railway, Phil Gaskell & Phil Kitchen managed to drag their side back in to the game when Phil Gaskell beat Chris Starkie on the final black 61-54, with Phil Kitchen serving up a more palatable 67-29 victory against Norman Hallsworth.

The Railway A team kept their hopes of bouncing straight back to the 1st division on track after beating Fleetwood Hesketh C 4-2, who themselves are trying to regain their top flight status to the top division. A great start to the match for the Railwaymen as Gary Flynn beat Andy Reynolds with a bit to spare 63-18 with Mark Tomlin sealing a 2-0 start after beating Dave Mills by 30 points. That lead was soon lost as the Fleetwood pair of Save Brown and Danny Clegg both saw off the challenge of Ally Iddon & Stephen Metcalfe, Danny making some good pots in his 63-21 victory. But the senior players of the team Billy Evans out-potted Paul Rodgers with his usual gusto to run out a 76-51 winner with Paul Taylor saving his best frame of the season in beating Ian Lindsay 74-18 and securing only the Railwaymen’s third win of the season.

3rd division –

Scarisbrick C brought up win number eight for the season when beating Birkdale Cons C 5-1, making them the team to chase for the rest of the pack. Birkdale’s Dean McDerby got the better of Dennis Glover in a scrappy opening frame as Chris Devlin beat Geoff Wright on the final colours to level things up one each. The match then swung to the home side big time as Dan Lawrence managed to see off John Melvin 65-52 with Howard Lawrence easing past Phil Green by some 40-odd points. Martin Cusack & David Williams made sure of the big win when they ran out comfortable winners, both by over 30 points, to secure the big 5-1 win.

Keeping pace with the leaders are the Churchtown Cons C team, sitting just a point back, after completing a hard fought 4-2 win over Scarisbrick B last week. Tony Baldwin confirmed his status as a scratch player when compiling a very nice break of 30 in his frame to dispatch Wayne Cooper 59-21 as Mick Hodge matched that when beating Peter Parkinson 58-15. The middle frames turned the match towards the Con club as Malcolm Green and Nathan Browne both won to give them a solid 3-1 lead. But, as is always the case, winning those close call, final colour frames, is the key to where you end up in the league and both sides had a black ball win from the last pair. Peter Simpson claimed a close 65-58 win over Adam Rothwell for the visitors as Brian Sheil won by just the 3 points to see off Ian Lowery 60-57.
A hard fought 3-3 draw between Birkdale Cons B and Bretherton meant that both side stay in close reach to the top of the table just before the half term break for Xmas approaches. Bretherton made the better start racing out to a 2-0 lead after wins came for the Moulton’s, Simon & Edwin, with Ed thrashing Reg Dobson 73-9. Ouch…!! The Con club showed some fight back when taking the middle frames as Geoff Tyas beat Ste Fiddler and John Stringfellow got the better of Phil Iddon by 30 points. But in the end, both sides had to settle for a draw as David Robinson beat Alan Venables with a bit to spare 51-27, with the gentleman of the Bretherton team Nev Marsden edging out Keith Minshull on the final black.

Banks B played out a 3-3 draw with the visiting Churchtown Cons D team with the opening two frames of the match seeing the two top players from either side slugging it out over the green baize. Andy Hardisty, giving Trevor Ford 10 start on the handicap, managed to get the better of his opponent to eek out a close 42-29 win as a potting duel between Dave Quinn and Lee Holmes ended up with Dave coming out on top by 87 points to 48. Banks then took the middle frames to move 3-1 up after Graham Melvin won yet again, his 10th win for the season, against Russ Walsh with Chris Powell seeing off Mike Pickles to gain at least a share of the spoils from the night. But the Con club team had the last say on the night as Tony Wakefield, returning to his old stomping ground saw off Ricky Roberts 55-26 ably supported by Ste Mentha’s close 54-43 win over Chris Aughton.

For a team who usually receives a 6-0 thrashing it would have been quiet a feeling for The Railway C team when it was them who thrashed someone 6-0, Fleetwood Hesketh B the team getting it right and proper last week. In fact searching through my records, I stopped when I got back 12 years, it’s safe to say it’s this side first ever full house 6-0 win. Well played gentlemen…!! The other side to that is that the Fleetwood Hesketh B, who have yet to register a win yet this term, and have drawn six of their 11 matches so far, have all of the division ahead of them now sitting as they do rock bottom in the division. As it happened, Ian Brownhill lost on the final black 66-62 to Dave Brown, Max Riley completed a narrow win over Lawrence Renshaw with Jake Wheeler securing a 10 point victory over Brain Kimberly, and so they can count themselves a little hard done too. Keep smiling lads, always next week, the Fleetwood B v D Derby match…!!

And the Fleetwood Hesketh D team will be going in to that big Derby match up off the back of a 4-2 defeat to Southport Cons B, for whom this was their first team win since the beginning of October. The young Harry Pollock got the better of Larry Scholes, just mind, when beating him 56-47 as John Blackhurst fell just short of a century of points against Andy Bridge running out an impressive 96-44 winner. Fleetwood did fight back though, taking both of the middle pairings as John E Gearie saw off the challenge of Craig Thomas and Neil Rimmer beating Peter Jackson, both by a similar 30 points difference. But Peter Yates served it up to Colin Coffey, dishing out a 53-19 drubbing as John Barton got the better of Dave Martindale to give the Bath Street side the win and 4 points from the night.

I wish you all good luck for the new season, and lets hope for some close battles and tight finishes in this the Southport Leagues 75th year of competition.

Chris Gill - Gen Sec