Rob Shattock, Tony Spridgeon, Mark Spridgeon, Nick Wood, Paul Knights and Captain Will Mildenhall
The Southampton Billiards League Usher Team Handicap Billiards Cup final went down to the last game in probably the most dramatic team billiards finale ever witnessed. Held at Park Gate Royal British Legion, last season’s runners-up Churchills Eastleigh faced-off against Hamble Social on some excellent tables, which helped to create a superbly competitive final.
The five players, first to 200 points, individual handicap format competition, started in fine fashion with Churchill’s Mike Adams (+120) pipping Hamble’s Will Mildenhall (+75) by only 6 points, 200-194. Hamble’s Mark Spridgeon (+65) then beat Churchill’s Peter Green (+95) by 200-172 to give his team the total points aggregate advantage at 394 to 372.
Next up was Churchill’s Dave Baker (+50) verses Tony Spridgeon (+65). Spridgeon made a fine 30 break in the early stages, but back came Baker to win by 200-188. That made the aggregate 582 to Hamble and 572 to Churchills. The fourth pairing put Hamble in control, as Hamble’s Nick Wood (+0) played well to overcome Churchill’s Simon Green (+95) by 200-128, making breaks of 39 and 32 to give his team the advantage, 782 points to 700 going into the final game.
Hamble’s Paul Knights (+60) had to reach 119 points for his team to take the title, and Derek Foster had to play the game of his season to give Churchills any chance of going one better than last year. Foster started in imperious fashion and continued some fine positional play to look as if he could create the impossible. But Knights kept his nerve to play some welcome pots and in-offs to move him closer to his target.
Foster closed in on the 200 points winning line with Knights still requiring another 15 to get to 119. But Knights got to 119 as Foster went on to win by 200-122, and fall an agonisingly close four points short on the total aggregate score 900-904! Well done to Hamble Social on a superb victory and a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Churchills Eastleigh made it two final appearances in two years as they pipped Chandlers Ford Central by only 22 points in the semi-final of the Usher Team Handicap Cup, and Hamble narrowly beat league champions St Denys Cons by only 24 points over the 1000 points on offer!
Chandlers Ford started strongly with Daniel Zagaroli making 6 breaks over 30 to beat Peter Green by 200-166, and in the next pairing captain Terry Azor made a 54 and 38 to pip Simon Green by 200-189. But back came Churchills with Dave Baker beating Graham Hollick by 200-162 to leave the team aggregate points total beautifully poised at 562 to 555 in Chandler's favour.
Churchill's Derek Foster started well against in-form John Mullane by making a 44 break, but the highlight of the evening was served up next, with Mullane making a magnificent 154 to go with an earlier 88 to give Chandlers Ford the advantage. Foster had other ideas though as he made a 38 and held on for a fine win by 200-166.
With the aggregate at 728 to 755 now in Churchill's favour, Mike Adams had to reach the magic score of 174 against Korbin Lowe. Lowe however pipped the Eastleigh newcomer by 200-195, but Adams had done enough to send his team into the final for the second time in two years by the team aggregate score of 950 to 928.
It was a similar story out at Hamble Social as they faced off against newly crowned league champions St Denys Cons. Will Mildenhall got Hamble off to a great start by beating Ade Bridger by 200-187, but back came St Denys with Andy Carter making a 46 break during his nail-biting 200-198 win over Paul Knights. Hamble’s Tony Spridgeon then overcame Mark Emm (30 break) by a another slender margin of 200-197!
Hamble’s Nick Wood made a fine 53 break to beat Derek King by 200-183 and give his team the aggregate points total advantage by 798 to 767. Hamble’s Rob Shattock duly delivered in the last game by getting to 193 points to Chris Bishop’s 200 (35 break) to win the team aggregate by only 24 points, 991 to 967!
CHANDLERS FORD CENTRAL 928 V CHURCHILLS EASTLEIGH 950
D ZAGAROLI 200 V P GREEN 166
T AZOR 200 (54, 38) V S GREEN 189
G HOLLICK 162 V D BAKER 200
J MULLANE 166 (88, 154) V D FOSTER 200 (44, 38)
K LOWE 200 V M ADAMS 195
HAMBLE SOCIAL 991 V ST DENYS CONS 967
W. Mildenhall 200 A. Bridger 187
P. Knights 198 A. Carter (46) 200
T. Spridgeon 200 M. Emm (30) 197
N. Wood (53) 200 D. King 183
R. Shattock 193 Chris Bishop (35) 200
Mick Kunzi makes a magnificent league maiden 104 at Churchills, but which team won through!...
Totton's Mick Kunzi made a magnificent maiden century in the Southampton Billiard league's Usher Team Cup first round match with Churchills Eastleigh, and decalred "the drinks are on me"!
The amazing 104 was also joined with a 37 break during his 200-149 victory over Churchill's Simon Green, who fought back valiantly. Churchills Derek Foster (31 break) had a great tussle with Tony Aldridge, eventually triumphing 200-171. This left the total team points aggregate total in favour of Totton, and after Peter Green's 200-179 win against Steve Allen (43 break) left the score at 549-550 to Totton!
Totton's Lee Fitzpatrick led Churchill's Dave Baker by over 40 points going into the last 30 points but Baker made a 39 unfinished break to win a remarkable match 749-729 with Totton only able to field four players.
Hamble Social had a fine 989-753 victory over visitors Park Gate RBL. It could have been very different though as Park Gate's Paul Tavender (44 break) beat Hamble's Mark Spridgeon 200-189. That was Gate's only success though as Will Mildenhall overcame Paul Lawrence (35 and 34 breaks) 200-157, Rob Shattock beat Ian Finch 200-105, Nick Wood (38 and 37 breaks) overcame Chris Pullen 200-171 and Tony Spridgeon beat Steve Boterhoek 200-120.
Chandlers Ford Central cruised through to the semis as they crushed Curdridge RBL 996-890. Winners for Chandlers were Daniel Zagaroli, in magestic form again, (30, 31, 40, 60, 64, 87 breaks) against Rob Smith 200-185, Terry Azor chipping in (56, 31, 42, 47, 34 breaks) against Brian Bull 200-171, Korbin Lowe against Richard Marshall 200-172 and Graham Hollick over Derek Fry 200-162. Curdridge's Clive Gamblin saved his team's blushes as he beat Mike Thatcher by four points 200-196.
CHURCHILLS EASTLEIGH 749 V TOTTON REC 729
S GREEN 149 V M KUNZI 200 (104, 37)
D FOSTER 200 (31) V T ALDRIDGE 171
P GREEN 200 V S ALLEN 179 (42)
D BAKER 200 (39 UNF) V L FITZPATRICK 179
HAMBLE SOCIAL 989 V PARK GATE RBL 753
Mark Spridgeon (55) 189 v Paul Tavender (15) 200
Will Mildenhall (80) 200 v Paul Lawrence (-15) 157
Rob Shattock (110) 200 v Ian Finch (70) 105
Nick Wood (0) 200 v Chris Pullen (95) 171
Tony Spridgeon (45) 200 v Steve Boeterhoek (85) 120
Breaks: Paul Tavender 44
Nick Wood 38, 37
Paul Lawrence 35, 34
CHANDLERS FORD CENTRAL 996 V CURDRIDGE RBL 890
D.ZAGAROLI 200 V 185 R.SMITH 
T.AZOR 200 V 171 B.BULL 
K.LOWE 200 V 172 R.MARSHALL 
M.THATCHER 196 V 200 C.CAMBLIN 
G.HOLLICK 200 V 162 D.FRY 
ST DENYS CONS WALKOVER WIN AGAINST SARISBURY SOCIAL