This week saw the culmination of the South London & Kent Pool Alliance summer league season, with the Tier Two play-off between Bellegrove from the West and Bears from the East. 


James Couch started the match for Bellegrove, going on to make a four-ball break, but he was chasing position and handed the possession of the table over to Gary Heath. 


He couldn’t hold onto it though and gave away two visits, which Couch didn’t take advantage of, letting Heath back in. 


Heath had one difficult yellow out of his six remaining and after potting three yellows, was in an ideal position to cover a pocket with it however, he overhit it and left Couch a double into the corner, which he deposited. 


Couch was fortunate not to scratch in the centre pocket on his penultimate red and went onto finish the frame to give Bellegrove a, 1-0 lead in the race to eight. 


A alcohol free Dean James produced an excellent seven- ball clearance from the break in frame two, but ran out of position on the black, snookering himself however, he produced an amazing kick off the bottom rail to not only hit the black but almost pot it in the top corner. 


Graham Levingbird worked hard, gaining two visits, but he didn’t need them, clearing his remaining colours and the black in one visit to extend Bellegrove’s lead to, 2-0. 


Frame three was a hard-fought affair between Jeff Bailey and Dan Heinink and after Heinink scratched into the top corner, the Bears Captain used the two visits to their full advantage to clear up and reduce the deficit to, 2-1. 


Peter Whyte was unfortunate not to clear the table in one visit however, Gary Mason gave him two visits with his next shot and Whyte used them both to restore Bellegrove’s two frame advantage. 


The last frame of the set, between Shane Burnett and Barry Barham was surprisingly the longest of the night so far, as it turned into a fight to control the bottom corner pocket. 


Burnett looked to be taking it when adrenalin got the better of him on his last red, hitting it too hard to jaw the cue ball in one side pocket and sink it into the other. 


Despite having two visits, Barham didn’t need asking twice, potting his final yellow and the black to give his team a, 4-1 lead at the end of the set. 


Bellegrove may be, 4-1 up but it has been a tale of two visits so far and could quite easily have been the other way round, so Bears will need to take more care and control the cue ball more if they want to stage a comeback. 


James Couch played himself into trouble, potting reds when he had one tied up. 


Couch had two left when Dean James came to the table and he hardly had a shot on them, as James nurdled away, eventually clearing his last two yellows and the black, to make up for his earlier misfortune. 


With James pulling it back to, 4-2 was the comeback on?


Gary Mason thought so, as he won the comedy of errors frame against Levingbird, with a wonderful clearance on his last four reds before potting the black, to bring his team to within one frame. 


A tactical battle ensued between Burnett and Heinink, that the Bellegrove man looked to be getting the better of, but with one red left on the table he let Burnett in. 


It wasn’t easy for the Bears player though, as he had six yellows to navigate, before getting to the black. 


He successfully worked his way through the yellows but finished slightly out of position on the black, leaving himself in two or three minds as to what shot to take. 


Unfortunately, he listened to the wrong mind and Heinink punished him, to put Bellegrove, 5-3 ahead. 



Bailey made too many mistakes against Whyte, who capitalised, finishing off with a lovely cut black into the bottom corner, extending Bellegrove’s lead to, 6-3. 


In frame ten Heath scratched off the break and Barham took full advantage, selecting reds, potting them all and the black in an assured clearance to put his team on the hill at the end of the second set. 


Couch faced James again and the frame started in a similar vein to the previous one, with Couch producing an excellent clearance and he should have broke and dished but missed out on his final yellow. 


James played a couple of safeties, but then saw the game was on and went for it, working his way round the table at speed, which turned out to be his downfall, jawing his last red, giving Couch the frame and Bellegrove the match, 8-3. 


The match was much closer than the score line suggests, as Bellegrove were more ruthless in punishing Bears mistakes, with Barham and Whyte being most clinical, finishing unbeaten on two frame wins each. 


Along with Pickwick and Falconwood Club, Bellegrove re-join the SLKPA Elite League for the next summer season.  


For more information on the SLKPA, including league tables visit our website at or contact our Secretary, Paul Gafa on 07443 456662 or with any queries.


The league is always looking at potential sponsors and any interested parties can also contact Paul Gafa.