Mablethorpe pool team topple stars to win national prize

The Mablethorpe team which pocketed the top prize at a big national pool competition EMN-170320-165232002
The Mablethorpe team which pocketed the top prize at a big national pool competition EMN-170320-165232002

A Mablethorpe team overcame three England players and a former world champion to win a national pool title last weekend.

The quartet of Ash Banks, Daniel Quin, Max Billingham and Ian Brunt came through a thrilling sudden-death shoot-out in the final to claim the National Blue Dolphin team title at Scarborough.

Banks, Quinn and Billingham have been playing together for 10 years, since junior county level, while team captain Brunt joined the team around five years ago.

They now play in local leagues out of the Jesters Bar, in Mablethorpe, and the Vine, in Chapel St Leonards.

“We were outsiders and not expected to progress,” Banks said. “But through team spirit and belief in our own ability we managed to come home with the trophy.

“It was a real team effort; no one player could have done it on their own.

“Our rapport, team spirit and support of each other was second-to-none. When one player lost in one round, the others won and vice versa.”

More than 60 teams descended on Scarborough for the event and Mablethorpe overcame teams from Sheffield, Newcastle, Grantham and London on their way to reaching the final.

There they faced a star-studded team of players based across the country, pulled together specifically to win the top prize.

They were captained by Chris Gill and included former world champion Aggie Bailey in their ranks as well as Gary Spooner and Iain Turner

Mablethorpe were flying in the final and led 4-1 after brilliant clearances by Quinn and Billingham, and a brilliant black ball pot from the skipper. But their opponents fought back and pulled level at 4-4 with some superb clearances.

The final was then to be decided by a black ball shoot-out, similar to a penalty shoot-out in football where each team gets five attempts at potting the black.

The cue ball is placed anywhere behind the baulk line and the black on the spot for a tough length-of-the-table pot.

After five shots each the teams could not be split as Gill slotted home the black to make it 3-3 and force sudden death.

The black was then placed on its spot and the white in the centre of the baulk line, making the pot incredibly hard.

Banks composed himself under the pressure, and after around 30 seconds to judge the angle of the pot, slotted it straight in the centre of the pocket, putting the pressure back on Bailey to do the same.

The former world champion seemed uncomfortable as he addressed the ball and the pressure told as he missed to give Mablethorpe the title.