Pool stars flying flag for Rugby

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POOL international Roger Hunt flies out to Malta this week determined for success in the European Championships.

His England team appear the ones to beat, as Roger captained them to victory in the seniors World Championship in Blackpool last year.

And two years ago, when the last European team competition was staged in Dundalk, England were again the winners, with Roger taking the individual seniors title too.

“I’m really looking forward to going out there and playing,” said Roger, 53, who took up the sport in 1977. “We have a strong team, the same team that won the worlds, so we’re hoping to bring home the trophy.

“There are four in the team, with three playing at any one time, depending on who is in form. I’ve been practising a lot and I just need make sure I’m doing enough.” The other team members come from Darlington, Nottingham and London.

Roger, who plays for Snooker Lions in Rugby’s pool league also plays for Rugby A in the SuperLeague and Warwickshire A at county level.

He is very grateful to sponsors Quigley’s Irish Bar, Victoria Inn, Heaphy’s clothing, Hunts book sop, Terry Crayer Services and Stonewall Security for their support.

Andy Barnett has just returned from Paris and his first taste of pool’s Eurotour.

Once he found his feet, Andy finished 49th overall and is looking forward to the next event in Treviso, Italy in April.

He explained: “My first impressions of the tour are that it is very professionally run, the equipment is top notch, the technology in the scoring system and live streaming is great and the standard is immense!

“There were 171 of the best 9 ball players from around Europe and my first match was against german, Walter Krawutschke who I defeated 9-5.

“This set up an all English clash with former Eurotour no1 Mark Gray.

My first eurotour then became a baptism of fire as i was given a real lesson in 9 ball being whitewashed 9-0!

“Obviously devastated to have not got a rack on the board, but happy in the knowledge that I hadn’t really done anything wrong, a couple of missed half/quarter chances was my only mistakes but at this level thats all it takes.

“However, the Eurotour is double elimination so I had a second chance on the losers side of the draw.”

Andy was next matched up against frenchman, Frederic Towrek and bounced back in style with a 9-1 win.

This was followed by the same result aginst young Norwegian, Mikael Ogard and then a 9-3 win against Spaniard Diego Simon Parra. This set up his second all English match of the tournament. Unfortunately Scott Higgins got the better of Andy 9-7 in a tight game.

He added: “I feel as a debut event on the Eurotour it went well and I believe I can compete at this level and will look to improve at the next event.”

His 49th place earned 230 ranking points which until he has played six events wont give him a true ranking, but is currently at 226, which he is keen to improve as the season goes on.

Andy works for Charles Watts Engineering in Somers Road, Rugby and practises at Slim Jim’s club in Daventry.