West Yorkshire pool players take on best in country

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Four teams from West Yorkshire blackball travelled to Southport to take part in the English Blackball Pool Federation (EBPF) national county finals after qualifying at the end of last season.

​Pontefract’s Emma Senior, Wakefield’s Dale Shaw, Dewsbury’s Yasar Hussain and Josh Juhasz, from Barnsley, picked up medals for winning the regional rankings in their respective divisions, with the Ladies A and Masters collecting trophies as region team champions to boot.

Then it was on to battle for national honours as the men’s B, ladies A, seniors (over 40) and masters (over 50) set out against the best in the country in singles and team matches to see who would be crowned English champions.

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Ossett’s Andrew Appleton took the headlines as he was crowned masters individual champion and this was no ordinary win.

Trophy winning West Yorkshire county pool player Emma Senior.Trophy winning West Yorkshire county pool player Emma Senior.
Trophy winning West Yorkshire county pool player Emma Senior.

There was an extra special and personal goal to this competition for Andy, in its inaugural year of being named in honour of one of the games all time greats, Jason Twist, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Appleton paid tribute to Twist on collecting his trophy: "Jason was a big part of my life for around 35 years, we travelled across the UK and Europe playing international pool together and if ever there was a player who loved life and lived it to the max, it was Jason Twist.

"To win this trophy in honour of this great man, it gives me goosebumps – to think he was looking down on me.

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"It’s one of the biggest titles I have won and can cherish for the rest of my life. We love you brother, God bless."

Andy Appleton won the English Blackball Pool Federation Masters trophy, named in honour of his friend, Jason Twist.Andy Appleton won the English Blackball Pool Federation Masters trophy, named in honour of his friend, Jason Twist.
Andy Appleton won the English Blackball Pool Federation Masters trophy, named in honour of his friend, Jason Twist.

In an event that meant the world to him, Andy had incredibly fought back from the brink of defeat at 4-0 down in his quarter final to win 5-4 in the early hours of Friday morning, before overcoming his opponent in an edgy semi-final.

The final, however, was all one-way traffic, finishing with an emphatic 6-1 victory for the Ossett man.

Appleton also had success in the masters team event, where he helped the rest of the team reach the final, but it was not to be as the West Yorkshire side were edged out by regional rivals Lincolnshire.

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The men’s B were just one frame away from reaching the final of their section, but in a nail-biting deciding frame, it came down to fractions and unfortunately it did not go West Yorkshire’s way.

It was a hugely valiant effort by the boys who had fought back from 10-6 down before being beaten 14-13.

The ladies made it through to the semi-finals, but only after winning a crucial last group game against table toppers Cheshire, then coming up with a great win against West Berkshire in the quarter-finals.

But there was to be no repeat of their 2019 national title success as the girls were beaten by regional rivals South Yorkshire.

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The seniors had a great run in the round robin stages and topped their group, but unfortunately lost out in the quarters to a strong Teesside team.

It was a fantastic achievement to reach the national finals and the West Yorkshire County Pool Association was proud to have representatives in four categories, offering huge congratulations to everyone who played their part.

The association now turns its attention to the new season, with a quick turnaround from finals to their first match, played on Sunday.

A lot of new faces have joined the West Yorkshire ranks and among the reshuffles, there were fantastic results almost across the board.

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West Yorkshire were away to Lincolnshire, who prove year on year they are a force to be reckoned with and have just picked up several pieces of silverware at county finals.

Undeterred, new captains for the men’s A, Dale Shaw, and C team, Damien Cooper, were both over the moon to come away 21-15 victors.

Lee Hart's B team took it to the wire in their game, but came out on top 19-17.

Katie Holland's ladies A had a tight first half of the match before running away with it 18-10 by winning 11 out of the final 14 frames.

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Special mention goes to the ladies B team who this year find themselves in a different region, travelling away to Cleveland in their opening fixture.

An emphatic victory saw them come away with a whopping 20-8 scoreline, their first-ever win and certainly one to celebrate.

Next up for the county is the youth section, as the West Yorkshire A and B sides face off against each other in their first fixture of the season this month.

But before that a number of the county squad will be travelling to test themselves against the season's best players in the country this weekend, in their bid to qualify to play for England for the forthcoming season.

West Yorkshire blackball would like to wish all trialists the best of luck: Katie Holland, Alice Paylor, Lisa Stubbs, Dale Shaw, Andy Grice, Mark Grice and Marc Johnson.

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