The chase for the champions’ crown was given a shake-up by upsets involving the top two teams in the HUCKNALL EPA POOL LEAGUE.
Leaders Station Hotel (Hucknall) B slid to only their second defeat of the season, while second-placed Royal British Legion B were held to an unexpected 4-4 draw.
Station B were dumped 5-3 by impressive Empire A. who now move to within two points of the leading duo.
After losing the opening leg to Danny Butler, Empire hit back to lead 2-1 thanks to a double from Robbie Roylance, on singles against Tim McShane and on pairs with Mick Fowkes.
And although the visitors equalised in the hands of Simon Thompson, against Fowkes, Empire then surged into an unassailable 5-2 lead, courtesy of Tony Dobb, Curly Johnstone and the pairing of Steve Wood and Johnstone.
Meanwhile Legion’s penchant for draws came back to haunt them at home to mid-table rivals, The Dragon. For although they remain unbeaten in 12 matches, this was their fifth stalemate.
They led 3-1 at one stage after wins for Colin Draycott, Geoff Taylor and the pairing of Dave Stacey-King and Mark Hardstaff. But they allowed Dragon to not only recover but also edge into a 4-3 lead themselves before Dean Dymock salvaged a point on the last leg.
The visitors’ victors were Cliff Thompson, Shane Wood, Steve Nicholls and the partnership of Wood and Arthur Galloway.
Taking full advantage of the top two’s slip-ups were third-placed Park Tavern, who hammered Harrier H2O 7-1 away from home. The Bulwell side were on top from the off, dropping only the fourth leg.
Liberal Club are a fifth team still in with a shout of the title after an easy 6-2 victory at home to Bestwood Village Social Club. Steve Clark was successful on singles and pairs (alongside Ray Oldham), while Dave Bridges, Mark Shepherd and Tracy Shaw also found their best form. The pairing of Bill Clark and Bill Hardy provided the other win.
The week’s remaining fixture brought together the league’s bottom two teams -- and ended in a rare success for The Chequers, at home to Yew Tree. After ten defeats in 11 outings, Chequers hit back from 2-1 and 3-2 down to triumph 5-3, thanks to Rich Hyslop, Mick Bradley, Chris Reedman, Adam Woodfield and the pairing of Woodfield and Ben Hathersmith.
THE league’s individual rankings table has joint leaders on 69 points in Adam Fowkes (Harrier) and Mark Hardstaff (Legion), who have won nine of their 12 matches.