CASTLE D, the defending champions, must beat Gladstone C tonight to keep alive their hopes of retaining the Northwich and District League’s Division One title.

They trail their rivals by four points in the table with two matches left.

A 5-2 victory in the return earlier this season will give last year’s top dogs hope, although Gladstone C prevailed in a Team Knockout semi-final between the sides three weeks ago.

Castle D recovered from 2-0 down to beat Gladstone E after winning four straight frames.

A highlight was Rhys Jones potting all eight balls during a single visit to the table.

Gladstone C also trailed in a head-to-head with Castle A after Paul Lappin’s maximum break in the opener, but they fought back to win.

At the bottom, Gladstone A must beat clubmates Gladstone B to prolong a battle to avoid relegation.

A 7-0 reverse at Castle B last time out leaves them four points adrift of Rudheath, who don’t play again until next week.

Owley Wood B edged ahead in a race to be promoted from Division Two following a 6-1 win against Gladstone D.

Their lead over Castle C, who squeezed past Greenbank A last time out, is worth two points ahead of tonight’s round of matches.

However the Weaverham outfit face a testing trip to third-placed Barn Owl B, who still have designs on playing at a higher level next term following a 4-3 win against Witton Chimes A.

They secured victory easily by taking the first four frames before the hosts rallied, and Anne-Marie Stanley became the first player this season to inflict a defeat on averages leader Barry Watkins.

Lion A can improve their chances of a top-four finish if they inflict further pain on Greenbank A.

They make that trip buoyed by storming back from 3-1 down to beat Wheatsheaf seven days ago, when Dalton Parker won a decider.

Broken Cross claimed the Division Three title in unusual circumstances – following a defeat.

Paul Braham’s 8-ball break helped them to establish a 3-0 lead against Blue Barrel A before the Castle-based outfit launched a remarkable comeback capped by Paul Higgins holding his nerve to win the seventh frame.

Iron Bridge A still have work to do to secure the runner-up spot following a 5-2 defeat at Green Dragon last time out.

They host the table-toppers tonight.

Greenbank B, in third place, are eight points further back despite a 6-1 hammering of Blue Barrel B in their latest game.

They need another big win against Slow & Easy later.

However the Lostock Gralam side proved they can’t be subdued easily after twice coming from behind to beat Moulton Legion last Wednesday.


Northwich and District Pool League

Week 16

Division One: Castle B 7-0 Gladstone A; Gladstone B 4-3 Rudheath; Gladstone C 5-2 Castle A; Gladstone E 3-4 Castle D. No game: Barn Owl E.

Division Two: Castle C 4-3 Greenbank A; Greenbank C 5-2 Owley Wood A; Lion A 4-3 Wheatsheaf; Owley Wood B 6-1 Gladstone D; Witton Chimes A 3-4 Barn Owl B.

Division Three: Blue Barrel B 1-6 Greenbank B; Broken Cross 3-4 Blue Barrel A; Green Dragon 5-2 Iron Bridge A; Iron Bridge H 4-3 Witton Chimes B; Slow & Easy 4-3 Moulton Legion.

Fixtures for tonight

Week 17

Division One: Barn Owl E v Gladstone E; Castle A v Castle B; Castle D v Gladstone C; Gladstone A v Gladstone B. No game: Rudheath.

Division Two: Barn Owl B v Owley Wood B; Gladstone D v Castle C; Greenbank A v Lion A; Owley Wood A v Witton Chimes A; Wheatsheaf v Greenbank C.

Division Three: Blue Barrel A v Iron Bridge H; Greenbank B v Slow & Easy; Iron Bridge A v Broken Cross; Moulton Legion v Green Dragon; Witton Chimes B v Blue Barrel B.

Additional reporting by Rob Winnington