The Northern Rivers Masters and under 21 titles were played at The Dolphins Hotel, Tweed heads on Sunday 28th August, both titles were poorly attended, which was disappointing but some good matches were contested throughout the day.

Winner of the under 21 title was Daniel Woods who came from behind to upstage Callum Wade with Ryan Cretan 3rd (I have to say these 3 lads played their hearts out over the playoffs and have all improved out of sight, and can only improve again) after looking the favourite early doors.

The masters title went to Dennis Watt after a marathon final with Steve Chapman, after leading 5-1 in a race to 6 Dennis started to feel the pressure and next minute it was 5 all, then it was Captain Courageous` turn to feel the heat and Dennis got the money 6-5. Congratulations to both title winners and best of luck in their playoffs (if needed) with their city counterparts. Special mention to Chris Blampton and Kristey Wise who did all the behind scenes work on the day, thanks to you both from everyone.

 The NSW team playoffs were played off in super conditions at the Coolangatta Hotel, the tables were reclothed and nice and quick and our thanks go to the hotel management and Geoff Atkinson for allowing the use of the room for the Saturday and Sunday. The best of 15 double elimination format was a tad much for some of the combatants, Spiderman J. Latta had to be helped onto his pushbike on Sunday by yours truly after 50 odd frames took it`s toll (hope it was a tailwind on the trip back to Lismore JL). Most games went according to plan until top seed Damien Smith played Terry Stevens, at 7-3 the ex Tasmanian rep was cruising but a couple of ordinary shots saw Tezza roar back and qualify for the NSW team with a great 8-7 victory. (2-1 to Terry) forcing the Byron Bay “right hander” to head for the losers side. Good stuff Terry.

There were no other surprises over the 2 days, but a couple of pretty ordinary situations arose, (according to my spies as I was unable to attend due to work commitments)  I will leave them out of print but a couple of players need to have a hard look at their ethics. Mal Malone who was the brunt of some unwarranted  pressure got through, she stuck to her guns and won so good on you Mal totally deserved, also a great effort by Mal to win the Queensland Ladies Title for 2005 the previous week. Damien Smith got through the back end when the Pom Chris Blampton forfeited for no reason for the playoff spot, disappointing and a tad ordinary. Silver Atkinson was a shoe in to make the team and duly did so, how many spots go to the Northern Rivers players is as yet undecided, but we have Greenie, The Pom, Davo, and a couple of others ready and willing to go.

The team will be finalised over the next month, and we will let you all know as soon as it becomes available.

There really are too many people to thank and players to applaud over the series of playoffs, suffice for me to say the venues were all appreciated and in the main top class, most of the frames were played in the right spirit, and in an ego driven game all went pretty well.

I would be remiss if I didn`t mention the behind the scenes efforts by Greg Dingle Peter Watt and Damien Smith who carried the can for every tournament, thanks guys things don`t just happen on the day. They got more things right than wrong so good on you all.

Unfortunately I had to miss the singles and the final playoffs, however my thanks to all for the info I got in my absence (all totally unbiased of course) which was great, I had to finish this tonight as the final test of the ashes starts tomorrow and I have that sinking feeling The Poms may well be the ashes holders in 5 days time, really who cares. (god damnit I do). Anyway it`s all about competing (my favourite saying after I have just been beaten) and I am sure the NSW will play and enjoy every game at the nationals. Good luck to them.

Cheers Poppy.  

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