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A confident performance from Lancaster’s women’s pool team ensured that the evening of bar sports got off to a near perfect start. The result is even more remarkable considering York had taken the first two games. The response of Lancaster, to win seven unanswered games was a gutsy effort and showed that they fully deserved the four points towards the total Roses standings.
Laura Christie took to the table to play the first game for Lancaster. The first frame was an untidy one, with Christie cutting the white into the pocket and giving away two shots when missing a full ball. Despite this, Christie regained her composure and took the first frame, much to the delight of the crowd, many of whom forgot about the best of three format. The second and third frames did not go to plan however, as Paine improved significantly and was able to capitalise whenever Christie failed to pot; 2-1 to the York player.
Marie Jackson was playing her game simultaneously, taking on Lloyd of York. It looked as if Lloyd was in pole position to take the opening frame with the balls well positioned and Jackson potting the white to give away two shots. However, after a safety exchange Lloyd left the black over the pocket and Jackson pounced to clear the table. The final two frames were once again won by the York player, although it was a battle of attrition as they lasted a good half an hour.
With Lancaster staring down the barrel it was Lorna Starkie who was charged with the responsibility of dragging Lancaster back into the tie. In another tactical frame it was a superb escape from a snooker on the black that paved the way for the frame to be won; fortunately it was Starkie that pulled the shot off. In what proved to be a tight second frame, it was another snooker, this time by Starkie that gave her a comfortable opportunity to pot the black and give Lancaster their first win.
Looking to build off the momentum of Starkie’s victory, Alice Sunderland faced off against Amiee Howard in the fourth match. Once more it was a mistake that allowed Lancaster to gain a foothold; Howarth chipping the ball off the table looking to screw the cue ball for a positional shot. The second leg was secured thanks to two superb long pots and it was looking rosy for Lancaster as they levelled the score at 2-2.
Grayson continued the Lancaster comeback as she made short work of an inferior opponent. The 2-0 score line was well deserved as Grayson potted well and maintained good control of the cue ball throughout. Lancaster had taken the lead for the first time, with the score now 3-2.
Mel Morris was next up for the rampant Lancaster side against Agata of York. In what was becoming a familiar pattern the contest ended in a 2-0 whitewash to the away player. The confidence to take on some difficult pots served Morris well as her attacking style paid dividends.
Maria Madin was up for Lancaster in the seventh game knowing that a win would guarantee four points for the overall standings. However, this pressure did not appear to affect her as she defeated her opponent in the deciding frame after poor positional shots had cost her the second frame. With this, Lancaster had won the women’s pool and the remaining two games could be relaxed affairs.
Lucy Jackson was the first to take advantage of this and romped to a 2-0 win over a resigned looking opponent. With one game to play the score was 6-2 in Lancaster’s favour.
Emily Clarke took to the table and gave a sterling performance in the final game. She played superbly, remaining in control of the cue ball at all times and potting perfectly to seven ball her beleaguered opponent en route to a 2-0 win.
Captain Clarke has every right to be delighted with her well drilled team. To have dropped only one frame in winning the last seven games showed supreme skill and concentration.
By Matthew Todd