Warwick took two teams down to Southampton this weekend for our first appearance in the southern championship. A very early start for everyone but Harrison Whitworth, who played the tactical decision of the weekend to say hello to his folks in Bournemouth/Portsmouth on Friday night.
The day kicked off with the individuals, which came thick and fast on the 17 tables in the venue. The indies were split into championship and shield, with our first team in the championship and second team in the shield.
Max Burt, Rob Keogh, and Jonathan Ede all played well to make it to the quarter finals. Highlights of the day being Max's 4-1 win against an Exeter player, losing his only frame due to being in Costa when his game was called; Rob's 4-1 win against Oxford captain in the last 16; Jonathan's break dish in his very first frame of the day against an unsuspecting Southampton player.
In the end quarters is where it would end for Rob and Jonathan, but max won his quarter and so had a thrilling match vs Ed Poultney of Exeter on Sunday morning. While the rest of the team were having spoons breakfast, Max earned a 3-2 lead against Ed who was determined to play as many mind games against Max as possible (perhaps doubting he could win on the table). The match drew 3-3, and in a decider which had it all, time foul from Max, Ed hitting the wrong ball, and in the end the killer blow of a table with too much roll meant Max lost 4-3. He played Will Grummit of Kent in a 3rd place play off, which he showed his class to win.
The second team had the group of death, which had number 1 seed Exeter 1 as well as many peoples favourites Bath 1 in a group of 4. 6-1 and 6-2 losses against them two did no harm, as they easily beat Bristol 3 to come 3rd in the group so progressed to the shield for the first time this year (having always made the championship) with a real shot of doing well.
An swift 6-2 win against Exeter 4 meant a quarter final match up with Oxford 2s. Both sides were making mistakes early on, but it seemed Oxford would get away with theirs, when our boys wouldn't. Despite looking the better team, the 2s lost 6-4.
On Saturday the firsts won their group with 3 wins from 3, including a key 6-3 win against Oxford 1. They never played their best pool, but got the job done.
Time had to be made up after the 1s had to wait for Max's individual matches to be played, but they did their job with a rapid 6-0 win over 4-man Surrey 2s. This meant a QF draw against the winners of Kent and Surrey first teams. Neither team got the memo to play quickly (or even well), in a long long match that ended in a 7-6 win to Surrey. Straight back on for Surrey as the 1s got put on an unprecedented 4 tables. Surrey still high from their victory played some amazing stuff, pool they hadn't shown in any frame against Kent. With the momentum firmly in Surrey's favour, the run of the balls fell their way - the 1s found it hard to turn the early deficit around, and lost 6-2.
It was a disappointing end to the final pre-BUCS tournament, however the weekend was a very enjoyable one, and I'm sure Warwick will go again next year. In the past 3 comps we've had 4 individual semi finalists and 4 more quarter finalists. We've had plenty of players play their first tournament of the year, and we keep performing well in tough groups. This was my last non-BUCS tournament as club captain, and I'm very happy with everything the club has achieved in the past year. We're known as a uni with incredible depth, a very strong first team, and players who keep going far in the indies. 9 days til Yarmouth. Come on Warwick!