Keith & Larry Champs In Doubles Classic

11 May 2017 10:30:00 Posted By Luton
Last Updated: 11 May 2017 10:57:00

Shootpool was the venue for the AIPL Doubles Final this year, and the two teams lining up were all team mates in the season just gone, all playing for the league winners New Zealand "B". It was the reigning two-time champions Martin Langley and Brian Keeble, versus 7-time champion Keith Jones partnering 2001-2002 Doubles champion Larry Baker.

Keith broke off in the first frame, but unfortunately the white went down. Martin came to the table, potted a red, decided on staying reds and successfully cleared the table in one visit, and calmly rolled the black in for 1-0.

Martin dry broke in frame 2. Keith came to the table, chose reds and started clearing. Just when the clearance looked likely, the 6th red sat over the bag, with the 7th very much on. Brian played a great safety to try and get back into the frame, and had a slice of luck to land plum on a yellow, leaving the escape almost impossible. Larry couldn't get out of it, resulting in two visits for Martin. And he made no mistake, clearing in one visit to take a 2-0 lead.

Frame 3 saw Larry break, potted two reds and a yellow, nominated yellow and cleared a few before moving the only problem ball off a cushion and over the bag. Martin played a loose shot to nothing to try and knock out some reds, and a fortuitous landing meant Keith had a very tricky shot on the only available yellow, which he couldn't pot. Brian then tucked up, and Larry gave away two visits, but left Martin in a tricky situation. Martin used one visit to get better position, then potted, and then tried a pot that would smash open the remaining reds, which worked perfectly, but unfortunately missed the last red from a tricky angle when he got to it. Keith cane back to the table and potted the last two yellows and the black to get his team off the mark, 2-1.

Brian broke in frame 4, potted a red and nominated yellow and potted a couple before playing a safety shot to tuck up Keith. Keith returned the favour by playing his own safety. Martin missed a long pot, giving Larry half a chance to clear the table. He took the chance too, clearing brilliantly to win the frame and level the match at 2-2.

Keith broke in frame 5, and after nominating, potted four reds before rattling one. Martin came to the table, potted a few before playing a safety and bringing his only problem ball off the cushion. Larry responded by trying to cover a bag with a plant on the red. Brian potted a couple before covering the same bag with a yellow to take control of the frame. After Keith failed to tuck up, Martin cleared yet again for 3-2.

Martin broke in frame 6, but unfortunately potted the white. Keith came to the table, ball in hand, and cleared fantastically in one visit to draw the match level again at 3-3.

Larry had another good break in frame 7, potted one of each, and nominated reds. He then tried to play a deft safety which would knock a yellow onto the bottom cushion and leave the white safe, but under-hit it and therefore fouled. But from the position, Martin couldn't do anything except open some balls up. Keith potted one and covered a bag. Controversy entailed when Brian played debated foul that wasn't punished by the ref who couldn't determine whether or not it was a foul. A few safety shots later, Brian and Martin had full control, mainly due the fact that the foul wasn't called. But Martin left his last yellow over the bag, leaving Keith the chance to clear, which he took well to claim the all-important 4-3 lead that looked like they weren't getting 5 minutes prior.

Brian dry broke in frame 8, before Keith covered a bag, Martin left the white safe, before Larry played a containing safety. Brian managed to pot, before playing a red into the crowded zone. Keith played a pot to break into his problem yellow, hit it perfectly, but the white finished awkwardly. He then potted his ball over the bag to leave four open yellows, but couldn't drop the last one into the middle, leaving Martin a half chance to clear. When potting the fourth red, he pushed a red onto the side rail to have something to think about, but negotiated it well, before leaving a black into the middle, which he potted confidently for 4-4 and set up the 9-frame classic ending.

Keith broke in the final frame, and potted one of each colour, before nominating yellows. He was clearing well, but just as everyone watching thought the game was over, he left himself awkward on his last yellow, and couldn't pot. Brian went straight for the safety, but partially left the yellow on, but only if Larry played the yellow off the cushion first, then into the black, and hope the yellow drops in. But the shot from Larry was perfect, and the yellow dropped, leaving a dead straight black to the same pocket. He rolled it in for the 5-4 win, in what was an absolute classic for the crowds watching.

Congratulations to Keith and Larry, who will go from partners to opposition in the next AIPL match, the Singles final, at Rivets on the 17th June. This match will be followed by the annual Presentation Night, at the same venue. Tickets are still on sale from either the committee or from behind the bar at Shootpool for £5 each, or on the door on the night for £7. We hope to see you all there!