WEYMOUTH ace Mark Cottingham is now a fully fledged member of the England A team after making the most of an unexpected chance to climb the ranks.

Cottingham was made skipper of the England B2 side in May and had been expecting to lead his charges at the Nations Cup this November.

However, when a place in the A team became available, Cottingham jumped at the opportunity to contest a play-off in Mansfield for the honour of joining his country’s elite.

Facing Londoner Darren Thomas, who had been set to drop to the B ranks, Cottingham pulled out all the stops to record a 3-1 sets win.

He took the first best-of-seven frame set 4-3, lost the second 4-0, won the next 4-3 and sealed victory by winning the fourth 4-1.

Cottingham is now gearing up for the Blackball International World Championships in Perth this Oct-ober.

“I’m very proud to be in the A team,” said Cottingham, who is also the treasurer for the English BlackBall Pool Federation.

“There are some very good players in the team, the best that play blackball pool in England.

“Being captain of the B2 team had a prestige about it but everyone wants to play for the As.

“Positions don’t come around very often so to actually get one is a big honour.

“It’s definitely the highlight of my career and something I maybe thought wasn’t going to happen.”

Cottingham is also appealing for sponsors to support him and his team. If you can help, call the Snookes owner on 07866108720.