AIPL 2016-2017 end of season review
18 June 2017 13:00:00 Posted By Felix
Last Updated: 18 June 2017 13:10:00
The Charity Shield
The competition proved a success when first run last season so was run again this season, this year held at Rivets it featured the Knock Out Cup holders New Zealand "B" (formally The Vic now playing from a new venue) versus the Plate Cup winners Shootpool Sharks.
Raising money this year for Dementia UK who offer specialist one-to-one support and expert advice for people living with dementia and who in 2015 celebrated 25 years of Admiral Nursing.
But most important aspect of the night was the charity side and the league raised a fantastic £652.57 (more than double last year).
Thanks to everyone who donated towards the cause.
Shootpool Sharks donating their £80 prize money.
New Zealand "B" donating their £60 prize money.
SP Blacks donating their £50 prize money.
Top John donating their £30 prize money.
£45 from the AIPL committee for single visit clearances.
Amber Carter for creating and running the football cards - plus those that generously gave prizes for the cards - that raised an incredible £176.
Penny Mines for going around the venue all night and raising £121 with collection buckets.
Thank you again to everyone who donated to the cause.
Charity Shield Winners: New Zealand "B"
So after The Charity Shield, the league campaigns begun.
Division 2 had 9 teams this year, one more than in each of the last 2 years, with the teams playing from six different venues.
So the title went down to the wire, and the last night of the division provided some drama.
And Shootpool Blues won 5 frames in a row to mean they won the league by a single point.
Can't get much closer.
Division 2 Runners-Up: The Roths
Division 2 Winners: Shootpool Blues
Division 2 Most Wins
Last 2 seasons, only 1 player got over 20 wins, but this season 6 players won 20 or more, coming from 5 different teams with Shootpool Ringers having 2 players.
It was a repeat winner this year – Ed Knotwell - who last year won 12 of 14 in the second half of the season, improving this season by going 13 of 15 in the second half.
Fantastic achievement to win the trophy for the second year running.
Division 2 Most Wins Winner: Ed Knotwell
This year there were 9 teams, up 2 from last year, and like Division 2 the teams were from 6 different venues.
That was 1 of 2 matches awarded in Week 1 as the division got off to a rocky start for the second season in a row.
Shootpool 'A' produced one of the fightbacks of the season as from 4-0 down they won 7 consecutive frames to beat the table toppers Shootpool Snipers for the second time in the season and move into second place.
Division 1 Runners Up: Shootpool 'A'
Division 1 Winners: Shootpool Snipers
Division 1 Most Wins
The Top 10 was dominated by the 3 teams that finished in the Top 3 in the division - Shootpool Snipers with 4 players in the Top 7, Bricklayers Arms with 3 in the Top 9 and Shootpool 'A' with 2 in the Top 10.
Division 1 Most Wins winner: Richard Ilsley
Before this season, Shoot Vetz had won 4 consecutive titles – matching the John Kennedy A side from late 90's and early 00's who won 4 in a row - but Shoot Vetz folded this year, guaranteeing a new winner.
For the third consecutive season, the division featured 10 teams, and like the other two divisions those teams played from 6 different venues.
Week 10 saw the gap at the top increase to 20 points and many turned their attention to second place with 4 teams separated by 6 points.
SP Blacks had struggled at the start of the season but were finding their form into the second half after Christmas and they inflicted the first defeat on New Zealand "B" with an 8-4 away win – winning the final 4 frames for a stunning victory.
Despite the defeat, New Zealand "B" were still 16 points clear with 7 to play, and they moved past 100 points the very next week.
New Zealand "B" then dented Swanky's hopes of second place as despite already being champions, they didn't take their foot off the gas and their 9-3 win saw Swanky drop to third as SP Blacks went above them with one week left.
The final week could have seen any of 3 teams finish in second and they ended up separated by just 2 points, with a resounding final day 11-1 victory for Shoot 8-Ball lifting them into second place at the end of the season.
Fantastic achievement for Shoot 8-Ball after back to back division wins to reach the Premier the past 2 years.
Meanwhile, The The Rivets finished bottom for the second consecutive year.
Premier Division Runners-Up: Shoot 8-Ball
Premier Division Winners: New Zealand "B"
Premier Division Most Wins
The rankings and chase for Most Wins were dominated by one player all season.
Luke Butler won 30 of his first 32 frames to seal the trophy – incredible form in such a competitive league.
Luke lost twice in the same match just once all season, however both frame losses were to Keith Jones, whilst he won 1 and lost 1 in the same match on 3 occasions, and won twice on the night 14 times during the season!
Premier Division Most Wins winner: Luke Butler
The Pubwatch Trophy
This trophy is awarded by the Aylesbury Invitation Pool League committee members at the end of the season to the team they feel most deserving of the award throughout the past season.
And this year's winners are Cotton Wheel Kittens.
The second all-ladies team the league has seen in 15+ years with a lot of the players playing competitively for the first time.
They struggled in early matches but as they further learnt the rules and got used to playing in the league, the matches and frames became really competitive, and the team never let the results get in the way of playing or enjoying and learning the game.
5 players on the team featured in the Mixed Doubles competition this season leading to a high turnout.
The Pubwatch Trophy winners: Cotton Wheel Kittens
The competition kept the format of last year that saw byes removed and all teams drawn to play matches in a qualifying round where win and you went through to the first round of the competition, lose and you entered the Plate Cup.
Having won the cup the previous three years, New Zealand "B" were going for their 4th cup title in a row which had not been achieved in this league before.
Other First Round matches all went to form or the team from the higher division.
The other semi was a lot closer and fiercely fought as Mark Game missed a sitter on the black to let Shootpool Snipers off the hook at 4-2 down and certain defeat, with Snipers recovering to win twice to level the match at 4-4.
And The Yeoman started the stronger taking the first 2 frames.
The captains made their picks for the final three frames and it was David and Shelley who rewarded their captain's faith in them with their second wins in the match to see Shoot 8-Ball lift the trophy after an exhilarating final.
Knockout Cup Runners Up: The Yeoman
Knockout Cup Winners: Shoot 8-Ball
Last year's runners-up Honey Bee Stingerz buzzed out at the first hurdle this year with defeat to John F Kennedy, whilst Shootpool Spitfires recovered from 3-0 down to beat Cotton Wheel Kittens 5-4 in a clash between the 2 all-ladies teams in the First Round.
The draw for the semi-finals saw the 2 Premier sides paired together ensuring that a lower division side would feature in the final for the second consecutive year.
The final was a one side affair however, with New Zealand 'A' winning 5-0 for the first whitewash result in 6 years.
Plate Cup Runners Up: John F Kennedy
Plate Cup Winners: New Zealand "A"
That, however, unfortunately saw the number of entrants for Ladies Singles drop to 7.
Ladies Singles Runner-Up: Sue Latham
Ladies Singles Winner: Wenda Hooton
Same pairings changed partners before the tournament begun, for better or worse, with last year's runners-up Wenda Hooton & David Feore each finding new partners – Wenda with Adam Jackow and Feore with Wenda's Mum Sonia.
The Quarter-Finals saw Kylie MacLean & Wayne Thorne deliver a knock out blow to the 2014 - 2015 runners-up's hopes of going one better in this tournament as they beat Chris Eley & Sue Latham whilst Feore continued his quest to be in a third consecutive final as he and Sonia breezed through the Quarters.
From 15 pairings, it was down to 2 and the final was one of a high standard going down to the wire.
58 pairings entered this year, the best turnout for around a decade, if not longer.
Last year's winners Brian Keeble & Martin Langley won their group of 2 to progress through to the Quarter-Finals stage – the third pairing in the group had decided watching West Ham would be more fun!
The semi-final draw kept the 2 New Zealand "B" pairings apart and both won their respective matches to set up a teammates clash in the final.
And the final proved to be a classic, with both pairings sparring through the early stages as the score stood at 2-2 and then 4-4 with the match going down to the wire.
2 clearances from Martin in the opening 2 frames put him & Brian 2-0 up.
But a fantastic single visit clearance of his own by Keith leveled the match once more.
Martin ensured the match went the distance as he turned a half-chance attempt into a superb clearance to level the match at 4-4.
The ninth and final frame looked like Keith would produce a break & dish to win it, but couldn't pot the last yellow from an awkward angle.
That left Brian the chance to tie Larry up next, but a stunning shot from Larry, potting the final yellow off the black ball having come off the cushion first with the white left him dead straight on the black.
He didn't miss and that meant he & Keith emerged victorious from an engrossing final.
Last competition of the season, with the final traditionally having been played on presentation evening for the last half decade, was the Singles that saw 121 players enter the competition, the most ever recorded and known for the AIPL.
With format changed 2 years ago at the AGM, the 1st and 2nd Rounds again featured all matches best of 5 and for the second year running, the longer format cut down on the First Round shocks with 28 Premier players winning their groups to be joined by 3 Division 1 players and Richard Edney of The White Swan as the lone Division 2 representative.
With Martin Langley and Larry Baker drawn to face each other in the Quarters, it meant for the first time in 3 years both wouldn't be in the semi's, and Larry took the match 4-2 to ensure it was he that made it the semi-final stage for the third successive season.
Many expected Keith and Larry to be drawn against each other in the semi-finals as it has so often been in the past that when both are in the competition they are drawn out of the hat to face each other, but it wasn't to be this year, as for the third time in four occasions they were drawn apart at the semi-final stage.
As previously mentioned, tradition now has the the final played on Presentation Night and so it was the two players went head to head this past weekend.
Larry certainly had a tough route to the title with two victories over past champions – Mark Game & Martin Langley – alongside victories over numbers 1 and 3 in the Premier Most Wins rankings this season, Luke Butler and Danny Lee respectively, then topping all those by beating arguably the best player the league has ever seen in the final.
The presentation evening was held this weekend and was a good night enjoyed by all.
Some photos of the evening and presented trophies can be seen in the photo album http://apacl.net/Pool/Association/AIPL/PhotoAlbum/AIPL-Presentation-Evening-2017.
The AGM will be held on Wednesday 19th July at Shoot Pool & Snooker, where everyone is encouraged to attend as it's the forum for all to have their say on the future of the Aylesbury Invitation Pool League.
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