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Uppingham side claim league and cup glory

League champions Exeter Arms, Uppingham, with John Pearson who has been playing in the league since 1984. (4226936)
League champions Exeter Arms, Uppingham, with John Pearson who has been playing in the league since 1984. (4226936)

The Exeter Arms team from Uppingham have achieved a rare feat by winning Rutland's Invitation Pool League trophy and Team Knockout Cup.

The league title was closely contested by the Boot and Shoe (South Luffenham) and The Vaults (Uppingham) with the Buff’s Club (Oakham) and the Royal Oak (Uppingham) not far behind.

With impressive and consistent matchplay by team members Richard Smith and Marcus Toth, the Exeter Arms were able to pull out a small lead by the halfway stage which they began to steadily build on in the second half.

However, a quick succession of very high scoring match results by the Boot and Shoe put the Exeter Arms under increasing pressure towards the end of the season, forcing the title to be decided on the final match night of the season.

Despite another impressive match result by the Boot and Shoe, the Exeter Arms team held their nerve and won their last contest to take the title.

The Team Knockout final was also incredibly close and hard fought.

The Vaults had earned their right to the final by beating both the Buff’s Club and the in-form Boot and Shoe convincingly.

In contrast, the Exeter Arms were extremely fortunate to beat the Exeter Arms B team in the second round and scraped a win over The Duke (Oakham) in the semi-finals to gain their place in the final.

The Vaults won the first game in the final and, with their confidence growing, they increased their lead to 4-2, but the Exeter dug deep and took the next two games to even the match.

The deciding game was oozing with tension, forcing errors from both sides and almost inevitably went down to the black ball.

The Vaults had the first opportunity to take the game with a fairly difficult long pot to a corner pocket, but it rattled in the cushion to present the Exeter with a easier shot to take the game, match and title.

Despite both teams fighting hard for the win, the match was played in a friendly fashion with true sporting spirit, creating a night of excellent entertainment and excitement for all who attended.

The doubles and singles knock-out was an opportunity for individuals to pitch their cue skills against one another.

The matches are best of three game which can often throw out some unexpected results, however this year, all the finalists in both categories were fully deserving.

The doubles title was eventually won by Roger Baston and Ian Bain in a very evenly matched final against Mark and Mo who had beaten some well-fancied pairs to win their place in the final.

The singles knock-out final between Marcus Toth and Dave Allison was played to an exceptional standard with no player taking no more than two visits to win any game.

The eventual winner of the title and the coveted ‘Golden Cue’ award was Allison, and keeping with tradition, he was awarded the cup by last year’s winner John Robertson.

The Captain’s Cup is also awarded by the captain of the league’s winning team to whoever he considers has contributed most to the team throughout the season.

This year’s winner was Richard Smith for 'reliability and consistency on the table’ and was presented by Richard Lewin, captain of the Exeter Arms team.

The new season starts on Wednesday, October 3, and welcomes all pool players and teams regardless of ability.

The league is very competitive but prides itself on being friendly, approachable and inclusive. Anyone interested in creating or joining a team should contact Graeme Douglas on 07821 215959.

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