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Intercounty Rankings System

The English Pool Association is one of the few governing bodies in sport that insists on the right of each of its members who play in the Intercounty fixtures to have the right to play for their country. This as you can imagine is no easy feat to achieve and although the system used may not be ideal for everybody it certainly has been effective over the years. "Intercounty Rankings" are the system by which players are selected for the England squad trials.

How this works is every single player playing in the Intercounty Matches has their performance recorded for an entire season. Even if a player only plays in one frame all season their performance will be recorded. There are five sections open to the players aiming to become part of the England team. They are Mens, Ladies, Senior's, Under 23s and Junior squads. In each of the eight regions the top seven players from each section are invited to take part in the trials.

How are the top seven arrived at? Each region awards points to players for each frame they win in their Intercounty matches. These "ranking points" are added to each individual player's total depending on the team they played in and how many frames they won.

Over the course of a season these points mount up and the seven players with the most points at the end of the playing season in each of the sections get to trial for a place in the England squad for the following year.

The men's section are counted together but more points are awarded to "A" team players for a win. If the points were the same for each section a "B" team player might amass enough points during the season to qualify for the trials. In reality, if they did, someone would ask as to why they were not playing in the "A" section. Since they would have had to win around double the amount of frames an "A" player would to qualify for the trials. That would almost certainly mean they were (a) too good for the section and should have been playing in the "A" team or (b) they were being retained in the "B" squad to get enough points to qualify.

All Counties must field their strongest available "A" squad for all matches. As you will see from the table below, the more matches played in, and frames won in those matches, enhances a players points collection and will put players who turn out for their County most often, in a more commanding position than those who turn out less regularly without actually stopping those players who miss a few matches qualifying. However, they will have to win a lot more to oust a regular player.

The reason "B" team players get less points for wins than their "A" team counterparts is because the men's section is recorded a a single ranking list. This in turn means that it would be possible to get a situation where a "B" team player could oust an "A" team player if they had the same amount of points. In theory at least, the "A" team players wins have been earned against stronger opposition than those won in the "B" team so the reward for winning is higher. This system means that it is hard for "B" team players to earn enough points to oust an "A" team player but still allows a "B" team player to qualify for the trials if they are good enough.

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