Local potters so close to European glory

Ladies runner-up Beckie Watkins.
Ladies runner-up Beckie Watkins.
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The Peterborough World Rules Pool League were almost celebrating a European Championship double at the weekend.

Two of their players - Beckie Watkins and Luke Gilbert - reached singles finals at the European Championships in Malta and were only just pipped.

Junior runner-up Luke Gilbert.

Junior runner-up Luke Gilbert.

Whittlesey-based Watkins, who plays for the Court Gimme a Break team on a Wednesday, was in splendid form at the big event at the Dolmen Hotel and knocked out several big names on her way to the final.

She began with a 5-1 win over Scotland’s Louise Sutton then beat Northern Ireland’s Laura Thornton 5-0 and England team-mate Sue Fletcher 5-3 to reach the quarter-finals.

There she smashed Jo Hobday 6-1 and in the semis she won 6-4 against another England colleague Tanisha Beckford.

In the final she was narrowly beaten 7-5 by England A team star Cat Jones.

Watkins played for Enland B in the team competition and they were beaten 9-4 in the semi-finals by eventual champions England A.

Gilbert, who plays for Court Larking About on a Thursday and lives in Huntingdon, started his quest for glory in the junior singles with a 5-0 defeat of French player Adrien Marquet.

Then he beat Ireland’s Ciaran Wallace 5-2, Malta’s Elcid Aquilina 6-1 and England’s Jasper Simmonds 6-0 to set up a final showdown against another England player Enrico Forgione.

Gilbert missed out on the title by just one frame, losing 7-6.

Gilbert was in the England A team alongside Simmonds and Forgione that reached the semi-finals of the junior team competition.