THE Tyne & Wear Blackball pool team are celebrating winning the North East & Yorkshire league title for a second successive year.
And the team, based at Houghton Snooker Club, are now targetting bigger success when they travel to Sussex in March for the national finals.
“I was contacted by the Regional Director for the English Blackball Pool Federation, asking if I could get a county team together to make up a league for the North East & Yorkshire region,” explained captain Jim Hall.
“I managed to pull in 25 players to form an A & B team and some sponsorship deals to help our budget costs.”
The A team lost their opening two games of the 2011/2012 season (both by 14-13 but then won all remaining eight fixtures to pip Redcar & Cleveland to win the title.
The B team, captained by Dave Newby from Birtley, won all ten of their games as they ran away with the league.
The teams qualified for the national finals, but did not realise it and ended missing out on the event.
There was good news, though, in that Paul Coxon from Houghton Snooker Club qualified for England trials – and made the full team. He has since represented his country in Dublin and will be representing England again in the next event at the end of March in Bridlington.
“This season we strengthened the squad to build on our success and registered 32 players,” added Hall.
“We kept the same sponsors on board (JT Dove Building Merchants, Carpet Time and North East Security Services), and the club’s owner David Cox again paid our subscription and entry fees.
“This season there was also a Seniors league (Over 40s) introduced.”
The success story continued with the A team winning nine out of 10 games, with the only set-back a 14-13 loss away to Redcar & Cleveland.
Most other games were won by big margins as the league title was won again.
Hall (Houghton Snooker Club), Stu Wright (North Biddick WMC), Marc Smith (Mountain Daisy, Millfield) and Tom Feenan (Hogan’s, Southwick) have also qualified for England trials after finishing in the top 10 players in the league, based on their performances.
Hall finished second to Ste Woodier (Teesside). Both had stats of 21 frame wins and nine defeats, but Hall missed out on top spot by one bonus point.
The B Team finished third with five wins and five defeats, while the Seniors ran away with their title, chalking up nine wins in 10 games.
The A team and Seniors are now all booked up for the national finals in Selsay (March 7-11) and will be facing tough opposition from Barking, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Plymouth.
“It will be tough, but we have a strong team and are in with a good chance,” said Hall.
Anyone interested in playing pool can contact Houghton Snooker Club on 5845829. All ages are welcome, with plans being made to form a youth team as well.