Fubar, NZ B and Blues, NZ A Reach Finals
21 August 2017 18:45:00 Posted By Luton
Last Updated: 22 August 2017 16:57:00
PREMIER - SEMI FINALS, SECOND LEG
Shootpool Snipers got off to the worst possible start in this game, when after trailing 6-5 from last week, lost the first four frames in the second leg to go 10-5 down on aggregate.
First up, Steve Dutton pounced on an early mistake to clear and put Fubar 1-0 up on the night. Gordon Sweeney cleared 5 balls early on, leaving Shelley not much chance to play anything but a safety, but Gordon got out of it and eventually potted his last 2 balls, leaving a very tricky black down the side cushion. But he potted it perfectly, and in doing so put Fubar 2-0 up. Robin Meads made amends from defeat to the same opponent last week, when after a good clearance, potted the black by coming off his opponents ball, a fantastic way to win a frame. Jack Mason then got through a tight, tactical frame and then potted an excellent acute angle black to make it 4-0 on the night and see Fubar on the edge of victory.
With a bit of momentum on their side, Shootpool Snipers went on to win the next frame too, with captain Wayne Thorne capitalised on several missed pots to claim the frame and get Shootpool Snipers to within one frame of Fubar on the night. Shelley McDermott then made a great clearance to level the match at 4-4 on the night, and get Shootpool Snipers within one of the total aggregate score. Ryan Englefield carried on where he left off in the first half, potting well to take out another win, only this time it made it 5-4 to Shootpool Snipers and 10-10 on aggregate. Suddenly, this was a match, and crowds were slowly gathering to see the finale. Like Ryan, Vince King won his second frame of the night in the following frame, after a missed opportunity to snooker him left Vince two simple pots to take the frame and move Shootpool Snipers to within one of victory.
The scotch doubles frame was a marathon. Joe Mcloughlin and Robert Mutch had control most of the frame, but were being slowed down by a very tactical game from Richard Ilsley and James Connor. The game boiled down to a very unfortunate in-off from Richard, which gave the Fubar team the chance to clear, which they did to level everything up at 11-11.
This left it all up to the captains picks, and it was Shelley McDermott for Shootpool Snipers and Gordon Sweeney for Fubar. The two had already played earlier in the match, with Gordon taking that frame. This time round, a dry break gave Shelley an early chance to clear, but he missed one to the top pocket. Gordon then potted a few balls and played a lovely snooker, that Shelley tried swerving out of, but missed, giving Gordon two shots. But Gordon didn't need the two, expertly clearing his remaining balls, including a great double on his last red to set up the black. A cruel way to lose for Shootpool Snipers, considering the comeback earlier on, but it is Fubar that get through to the Final after two final-frame deciders.
Shoot Vetz needed a small miracle to get through this one, as they were trailing 8-3 from last week, meaning New Zealand "B" needed just four frames on the night. But Shoot Vetz had the best start possible, goimg 1-0 up through Trevor Lewis. Trev broke and gained control of the frame very early. Larry Baker worked his way back into the frame and played a clever safety that got all his balls in pottable positions and left, what it seemed to be, no shot for Trevor on his last red. After a long thinking period, Trevor came off the cushion, made full contact with his red and amazingly potted it in the top pocket, leaving perfect position on the black to win. Unfortunately for Shoot Vetz, that was as good as it got.
Keith Jones broke in frame 2, and went for the clearance straight away, only to run out of position with 3 balls left. Dave Green played several snookers to try and contain Keith but he managed to escape each time and eventually forced Dave to go for it which he was unable to do and Keith cleared to level up at 1-1.
Frame 3 started with Doug MacDonald broke and gained control of the frame with pockets covered. Paul Kanchanlall attempted the tough clearance but just failed in getting on a ball that was in all sorts of trouble amongst Doug's balls. From there on in, the frame was very messy, full of mistakes, but Paul eventually took out 3 good pots to edge his side in front on the night.
In a must win frame for the Shoot Vetz, Lars Bjart seemed to rise to this challenge as he put himself in what looked like a winning position, but he kept turning down the chance to clear up and opted for more safety shots until Julian Lefevre forced him into it which resulted in a missed black for Lars. With his back to the wall for most of the frame, Julian produced a few moments of brilliance to completely turn the frame on its head and put his side 3-1 up on the night and within a frame of the match.
Frame 5 proved the most straight forward frame of the night as Jamie Whittaker took it comfortably with some very solid potting to make the score 4-1 on the night and put the New Zealand "B" into another final where they hope to defend their trophy.
THE SHIELD - SEMI FINALS, SECOND LEG
After last weeks 8-3 win for Shootpool Blues, Shoot At Will needed a brilliant start to get back into this match, but unfortunately fell at the first hurdle. Peter Mizon started very strongly and got to the black first on a 7-baller, but missed a tricky shot into the middle pocket. Chris Johnston then played a brilliant snooker to get two shots and took out all his colours fantastically, but then missed a similarly difficult shot into middle pocket leaving it open for Peter who finished with an easy pot for 1-0.
Rowland Harman was next up for Blues, and he played a good frame. He had a good chance early on and cleared a few colours. Andy Roberts fought back into the frame, but Rowland cleared his remaining balls well to give his side a 2-0 lead.
Controversy struck in frame 3 when during a John Thorne clearance, it was adjudged he touched the white with his hand, though it wasn't called by the ref. After some deliberation, he played the shot he had lined up and cleared the black for 3-0, leaving Shootpool Blues one win from the Final.
Callum Ajmal played Daniel Kerr in frame 4. Both players had a few chances, before a foul from Daniel saw Callum take control, clearing all his colours before using his two shots on the black to see Shootpool Blues comfortably into the final, 12-3 on aggregate.
Like the other Semi-Final, this match was massively in favour of New Zealand 'A', leading 8-3 from last week. And like Shootpool Blues, New Zealand 'A' took control early on, and saw out the match as quickly as possible, in just four frames.
Tommy Gibson played recovered from a shaky start to take out a 4-ball clearance, and followed it up with a good black to finish and put New Zealand 'A' 1-0 up on the night, and 9-3 overall. Jay Yerby also endured a slow, tactical frame, but managed to see himself over the win line, potting the black for 2-0.
Dennis Walton was third up for New Zealand 'A'. Mitchell Cray made a good break, and then proceeded to clear 6 balls, but crucially missed his last colour, leaving Dennis with a 7 balls and a clear table. But Dennis also missed his last colour. Mitchell couldn't capitalise however, leaving Dennis with a chance to finish on his next visit, which he gratefully took.
Brian Lopez had a captains face-off match in frame 4 against his opposite number Ricky Carr. The match was an extremely tight and a very close affair, but Brian took the match when he played a good cut on his last red leaving good position on a easy black to win the match, and see his side through to the Final against Shootpool Blues.
Both of the Finals this year, like last year, will be played at Shoot Pool & Snooker, and it is shaping up to be two great finals.
The Premier Final sees reigning champions New Zealand "B" take on Fubar. Despite finishing top of Group A, Fubar have narrowly clawed their way to the final, needing final frame deciders to edge past Honey Bee Stingerz in the Quarter Finals and then Shootpool Snipers in the Semi Final. New Zealand "B", who finished behind Fubar in the group stage, have had easier passage to the Final, as they had a 12-6 win over The Brick Slayers in the Quarter Final before comfortably seeing off Shoot Vetz 12-4 in the Semi Final.
Both sets of players have plenty of experience playing against the other set of players in the AIPL, but in the Summer League, the only match up was in this years Group Stage, a match that New Zealand "B" won 6-5. A close match is again expected in this one, however New Zealand "B" should feel confident in making this two Summer League victories in a row.
The Shield Final sees early tournament favourites New Zealand 'A' take on Shootpool Blues, who have been progressively getting better as this Summer League has gone on. Both sides have had similar paths to the Final. Both sides had a bye in Round 1, before both sides comfortably won the next two rounds with similar scores. Shootpool Blues beat Top John 6-3 before a 12-3 aggregate win against Shoot At Will in the Semi Finals. New Zealand 'A' first beat Shootpool 6-1, before winning 12-3 on aggregate against last years Shield winners Wonky Weavers.
The two sides have played each other once, in AIPL competition, and New Zealand 'A' had a perfect night that night, as they whitewashed Shootpool Blues 5-0, although Shootpool Blues look a much better outfit now than they did in that Plate match last year, so expect a closer game this time around.
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