2006 The British Universities Pool Championships

Oxford had fantastic success in the national University Pool Council’s Women’s 8-ball Championships 2006. A clean sweep was made, with Oxford 1 winning the team event and Stephanie Meidinger taking the singles title. Not only this, but three of the four semi-finalists were from Oxford (the other two being Rachael Houlton and Nicki Hoskins), and Oxford 2 were unfortunate in drawing Oxford 1 early in the knockout stages of the team event.

 2006 Winning A TeamSingles winner Stephenie Meidinger

Team Championship

The format for the team event was 3-man teams, with players playing single frames against opponents. Matches were best of 6, with each player playing a frame each (but the match stopped once 4 was reached). If the result was a draw of 3-3, a single frame shoot out would determine the winner.

The first few matches were played in 4 groups, with the top 2 teams from each group proceeding to the knockout stage.

Group Stages

Oxford 1 – Alex La Via, Nicki Hoskins, Sharon Golan

Oxford 1 (number 1 seed of the competition) sailed through group A without losing a frame. Other members of the group were Plymouth 2, Edge Hill 1 and Canterbury Christchurch 1, who failed to show. Plymouth 2 also qualified for the knockout stages through winning a single frame shoot out against Edge Hill.

Oxford 2 – Jenna Parker, Stephanie Meidinger, Rachael Houlton, Kelly-Beth Lawman

Oxford’s 2nd team were in group C along with Essex 1 (number 3 seed) and Teesside 1. After convincingly beating Teesside 4-0, they unfortunately lost to Essex 4-1, which meant that they came second in their group to Essex, who won both their matches.

Oxford 3 – Gayle Smith, Gill Carlisle, Lindsay Pugh, Catherine Edgar

Oxford’s 3rd team unfortunately had the hardest group, of Plymouth 1 (number 4 seed), Durham 1 and Nottingham 1. Gill did well to get 2 frames from the best team in the group (Plymouth 1), but unfortunately the team couldn’t scrape a win in the other matches. Most frames however were very close, with a couple of fouls on the black (an unlucky in-off from Gayle against Nottingham, and Catherine potting the black early from a disturb in a frame against Plymouth). In many of the frames, the Oxford player got to the black, but lost eventually due to unlucky misses, as well as being unsure on the unfamiliar world rules tactics.

Knockout Stage

Unfortunately, Oxford 2 faced Oxford 1 in the first knockout round. Oxford 1 showed their experience to win 4-1, but it was a pity that Oxford 2 didn’t have a chance to see how far they could have gone.

Oxford 1 then proceeded to the semi-finals, where they faced Plymouth 1. Despite Plymouth having a couple of strong players and good potters, Oxford seemed to use world rules better to their advantage to win 4-1. The other semi-final was between Birmingham 1 and Plymouth 2, which Birmingham won 4-0.

The final was between Oxford 1 and Birmingham 1. Despite a few close frames, Oxford 1 came out victorious with a very convincing 4-0 win. Special mention should go to Alex La Via and Nicki Hoskins for not dropping a frame in the whole tournament, and Sharon Golan for only dropping two, one of which was to another Oxford player!


Winning A team collecting trophies


Singles matches were played best of 3 up until the quarter finals, which were best of 5, and the final best of 7.

The first matches saw 8 of the 11 Oxford players through to the second round (although 4 of these – Rachael, Lindsay, Alex and Sharon – were byes!). Nicki, Kelly-Beth and Gayle all won 2-0 to players from Plymouth 1, Plymouth 2 and Nottingham 1 respectively, and Stephanie got through with a 2-1 win against a player from Essex 1. Unfortunately, Jenna (1-2 to a player from Essex 2), Gill (0-2 to the captain of Edge Hill 1) and Catherine (0-2 to a player from Plymouth 1) all lost in the first round.

Keeping up the Oxford success, 5 players made it through to the 3rd round. Kelly-Beth had a bye (because Canterbury Christchurch had withdrawn), and Stephanie, Rachael, Nicki and Sharon all won 2-0 (to players from Teesside 1, York 1, Nottingham 1 and Essex 2 respectively). Unfortunately, Gayle lost 2-1 to a player from Essex 1, and Lindsay and Alex both lost 2-0 to players from Essex 2 and Nottingham 1 respectively.

The 3rd round saw the unfortunate loss of Kelly-Beth and Sharon. Kelly-Beth lost 2-1 to a player from Essex 2 in a close match, that the Essex player eventually won with some slightly better potting. Sharon’s match had the potential to lead to an Oxford-Oxford clash in the quarter-finals against Stephanie, but unfortunately she was knocked out 2-0 by an Essex 1 player. However, the Oxford presence was kept up by Stephanie, who beat a player from Durham 2 2-0, and Rachael and Nicki, who both won 2-1 against players from Plymouth 1.

The quarter-finals showed some interesting matches. Stephanie, from the relief of not having to face another Oxford player, won 3-1 against a player from Essex 1. Nicki at first went 1-0 down to a player from Essex 2, but after deciding that that was silly, fought back to win 3-1. Special mention must go to Rachael, who wins “nicest opponent ever award” for letting the other player off a hair foul twice, before offering her a hairband so that she didn’t repeat the mistake! However, she showed that niceness pays off by eventually winning 3-1.

This meant that Oxford players had taken three of the four places in the semi-finals. Nicki unfortunately lost 3-1 to Marie Coley from Birmingham 1, through some unfortunate misses and her opponent copying her tactics! This round amazingly saw the first Oxford-Oxford match, between Rachael and Stephanie. It was a very close game, with a decider needed, but Stephanie won through 3-2 to gain her a place in the final.

So, the final was between Stephanie Meidinger and Marie Coley. The match again was close, with the lead changing with every frame. Eventually however, Stephanie’s match practice showed through, with her claiming the Universities Pool Championships singles title with a 4-3 win. Well done Stephanie!

Special thanks must go to Alex La Via, for organising the entries and captaining the team to victory, Nicki Hoskins for finding the cheapest accommodation ever (oh yes), and John Kinsey for his coaching and support during the matches, and for driving all the way to Derby just to watch us play pool!

Hopefully we will see equal success next year! Let’s have an Oxford-Oxford final!

A report by uk8ball can also be found here.


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