POOL: Leaders’ first defeat is right Royal shock

LONG-time leaders Royal British Legion A have been knocked off the top of the HUCKNALL EPA POOL LEAGUE after suffering their first defeat of the season.

Legion A travelled to meet fellow title-chasers, Empire A, with an almost unblemished record of 14 wins from 15 matches.

But they crashed 6-2 after winning only the second and final legs, through Tim McShane and Ryan Orton.

Instead all the plaudits went to an inspired Empire A outfit, whose victors were Geoff Taylor, who beat Gaz Woodfield, Craig Johnstone, who defeated Martin Bremner, Steve Wood, who beat Nigel Burton, Mick Fowkes, who defeated Nidge Orton, and the pairings of Wood and Taylor and Johnstone and Dave Wainwright.

Legion A duly slipped to third place in the table, behind their conquerors and the new top dogs, Empire Muppets.

Maintaining their marvellous maiden season, the Muppets ground out a workmanlike 5-3 success away to Chequers Inn B.

Mike Vernon won the opening leg and then doubled on pairs, with Keith Harrison on leg three, before Joe Etherington took the fifth leg. But each time, plucky Chequers B responded to level and it took victories on the final two frames to secure the points for the visitors, whose last-leg hero was Harrison.

Just one point now separates the top three sides who, in turn, are three clear of reigning champions Spot-On Low-C.

A 5-2 win away to Station Hotel (Hucknall) B kept Low-C in the title hunt. But they had to do it the hard way after finding themselves 3-2 down, despite success on singles by Dean Brittain and pairs by Simon Moralee and Colin Draycott.

Dave Butler, Scott Oxford and Alan Foster gave Station a big chance of an upset — until the last three legs went to the visitors, courtesy of Ryan Norris, who starred on singles and pairs (with Brittain), and David Carroll.

Elsewhere, a right mix-up sentenced Sherwood Ranger to an 8-0 whitewash defeat away to Yew Tree. The Ravenshead side failed to turn up because they thought it was Tree who had dropped out of the league, rather than Seven Stars!

The week’s remaining two fixtures did go ahead, with Liberal Club licking bottom-of-the-table Chequers Inn A 6-2, and Harrier sharing a 4-4 draw with Green Dragon after throwing away leads of 2-0 and 3-1.

IN the league’s individual rankings table, Geoff Taylor (Empire A) still holds a ten-point advantage, with Shane Wood (Chequers B) and Steve Wood (Empire A) in joint second.