Week seven of the South London & Kent Pool Alliance and Covid affected the league for the first time since pool returned after the outbreak, but that didn’t stop Bears picking up their first win of the season. 


Bottom of the Premier Division, Bears played Bull Tavern in seventh however, Bull had won four of their five games, so it was surprising that they were so far down the table. 


Gary Heath won the opening frame for Bears, but Bull took the remaining four frames in the first set to open up a, 4-1 lead. 


Dean James joined Heath to win the first two frames of the second set, to reduce the deficit to, 4-3 but Tony Gear and Naf Ayieko won the next two to restore Bull’s three frame advantage and send the set to a deciding frame. 


Shane Burnett held his nerve to stun the Bulls and bring the Bears back to, 6-4 going into the final set. 


The unexpected comeback was on as Heath made it, 6-5 and Jamie Phillips levelled the match, with the first two frames of the third set. 


Then the unexpected really did happen, as James beat Gear to put bottom team Bears in front for the first time since the opening frame. 


Bears smiles turned to whoops of joy, as Paul Cobbold won the penultimate frame to give them their first victory of the season, before Ayieko won the last frame to make the final score, 8-7 in Bears favour. 


Despite the tightness of this match, each team had a hat-trick hero, Heath for Bears and Bull’s Ayieko. 


This wasn’t enough to lift Bears off the bottom, but Bull did go up to fifth as Rugrats didn’t have a game this week. 


Hotshots v Bellegrove was the first of the league’s fixtures to be postponed due to Covid and despite remaining unbeaten so far this season, Hotshots dropped to third, although they have a game in hand over those around them. 


Taking full advantage of Hotshots’ unfortunate situation were Sharks, who have hit the top spot, after a huge victory over Pickwick. 


Sharks whitewashed the first set to take a, 5-0 lead into the second. 


Paul Slater put Pickwick’s first frame on the board with frame six, but Alex Biggs and Vu Son won the next two frames to put Sharks on the hill at such an early stage of the game. 


Martin Storey levelled the set with frame nine however, Geoff LaPorte won frame ten to give Sharks the match before the start of the final set. 


This must have demoralised Pickwick, as Sharks repeated their first set feat with another whitewash, for an overall, 13-2 triumph. 


Sharks were in magnificent form and hardly missed a ball all night, none more so than Biggs, Vu Son and LaPorte, who all won all three of their frames. 


This result puts Pickwick on five losses and two wins for the season, but somehow, they remain in fourth place, one point ahead of Bull Tavern however, Pickwick have played one more game. 


The Cocked Hats also leapfrogged Hotshots into second place by two points, after their triumph over Eltham Terrace Nuthouse. 


The Cocked Hats’ George’s, Taylor and Covington got them off to a good start, winning the first two frames. 


Nuthouse’s Lee Suggars pulled one back, but that turned out to be the frame that prevented the set whitewash, as Steve Dixon and Elliot Giles won the next two to give The Cocked Hats a, 4-1 lead. 


The next set swung one way then the other, with Cocked Hats taking it, 3-2, but the damage had already been done and they were on the hill with a, 7-3 lead. 


Paul Doherty delayed Cocked Hats from celebrating the win but only by one frame, as Covington won frame twelve. 


Taylor soon made it, 9-4 before Jon Syta levelled the set. 


Dixon took the final frame giving Cocked Hats the set, 3-2 and the match by 10 frames to 5. 


There was only one unbeaten player on the night, Cocked Hats’ Taylor, with three out of three. 


Cocked Hats are now seven points off the top spot, whereas Nuthouse are only one point in front of Bears at the bottom. 


The other Covid affected game was between New Eltham New Stars and Eltham Terrace Rack Pack in the first division, with Bellegrove A taking advantage to overtake New Stars and claim second place. 


Neil Shelton won the opening frame for Fox & Hounds, but Peter Moult and Joe Hills took the next two frames to put Bellegrove, 2-1 up. 


However, Glen Ward and Kerry Wyatt took the last two frames of the set to give Fox a, 3-2 lead. 


Sets two and three followed the same pattern with Bellegrove taking the first four frames and Kerry Wyatt winning the last frame of each set, giving Bellegrove the, 10-5 triumph.


Kerry Wyatt gave a Captain’s performance, leading from the front with her hat-trick to keep her team in the game, and she was joined by Bellegrove’s Hills and Moult on the same score. 


Fox & Hounds have now pulled themselves out of the relegation zone, going two points ahead of Rack Pack, but Rack Pack do have a game in hand.


At the top Bellegrove are seven points behind top of the table Falconwood Club, after they comprehensibly beat bottom team New Eltham New Boys this week. 


Falconwood flew out of the blocks, winning the first two frames, before Greg Fothergill put a frame on the board for New Boys. 


That turned out to be the frame that prevented the set whitewash, as Tony Garrett and Paul Baker won the last two frames of the set. 


Akar Necati made it three in a row for Falconwood, giving them a, 5-1 lead. 


Billy Russell became the second New Boy to trouble the scorers and again it would be New Boys only frame of the set, with Ross Webster joining Garrett and Baker to win the last three frames of the set. 


This gave Falconwood an, 8-2 lead and the win before the start of the third set. 


Russell made it a personal two out of three to reduce the deficit to, 8-3, but Luke Matthews and Webster won the next two frames to put Falconwood into double figures. 


The last two frames were shared making the overall score, 11-4 to the league leaders. 


Despite the large margin of victory, there was only one unbeaten player, Falconwood’s Captain Paul Baker, who won all three of his frames. 


In the SLKPA second division first played second, as Duke of Northumberland hosted Bellegrove Flyers, with seven points between the two. 


It was a great game played in a good atmosphere and as expected, the first set was close with Duke holding a narrow, 3-2 advantage going into the second set. 


After seeing Flyers level the score with frame six, Duke took control in the second set, winning four on the spin to take a, 7-3 lead.


However, it was all change in the last set, as Flyers stormed back to tie the match at seven all. 


That charge was halted when John Cochrane calmly cleared up a tough table in the decider, ending with a great double on the black, to give Duke the narrowest of wins, 8-7.


John Cochrane was the only unbeaten player for Duke, on three out of three with Mark Porter also scoring an unbeaten hat-trick for Flyers. 


Third-placed Academicals had the chance to close the gap on Flyers above them, as they were playing bottom team, Bexleyheath Working Men’s Club. 


Bexleyheath did themselves no favours by only having four players, but I don’t think it would have mattered too much, as Academicals raced to an early, 2-0 lead. 


Tony Hodsdon brought one back for Bexleyheath, but Gary Mason won the set and Dean Williams was handed the bye giving Academicals the first set, 4-1. 


Just like the first set, Paul Thomas and Chris Gaunt won the first two frames, making it four in a row for Academicals, for a 6-1 overall lead.


Hodsdon made it two out of two and his victory was followed by one from Andy Sucksmith to bring it back to, 6-3. 


However, due to the lack of players Bexleyheath had to give Academicals the tenth frame, with Williams being the beneficiary again. 


After two byes Williams actually played frame eleven and won to give his team the victory. 


Academicals were not finished there and went on to whitewash the final set, making it six frames in a row and, 12-3 overall.


Paul Thomas was the only player to play three frames and win three frames whereas, Chris Gaunt and Dean Williams both had three frame wins but were fortunate to be handed byes as part of their haul. 


With Bears winning this week, it means that Bexleyheath are the only team not to record a win this season and are 26 points adrift at the bottom. 


This result means that Academicals have closed the gap between them and Flyers to just four points. 


In the final match fourth played fifth, as Farmhouse faced Happy Hustlers, with just four points between them and this was reflected in the result, with Farmhouse winning, 8-7.  


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


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