WITH only three games remaining until the all important league play offs, and only a week away from the Festival of Pool, it is safe to say the Tennents Coleraine Pool League is well and truly entering the business end of the season.
The top four is now looking nailed on on to be Sperrin, Forge A, Bullseye A and Floyds Bar, it just depends in which order.
However, there is a titanic battle going on to get into the next four. Forge Bar, Bullseye Old Boys and Mary Pats are only split by two points, but there are only two spaces available, as fifth and sixth look safely occupied by Bullseye B and Railway Arms.
The Bottom Cup format will need to be revisited by the league committee as this week saw the Blackthorn expelled from the league after failing to fulfil their last two fixtures.
Bullseye A 11, Bullseye B 8
The B team gave their more illustrious counterparts a massive scare as they threatened to take at least a point which the probably deserved.
Gary Wallace had taken the first in a win over Stephen Biggart, which was not pretty from either player. This set the scene for the night as quality frames were few and far between.
Stephen Warwick levelled with a good finish after Bullseye skipper Damien Reid fouled. Stephen McMullan put the B side ahead in another scrappy encounter, but Raymond Baxter made it two apiece as he beat an unfortunate Kenny Watton.
Steven McIlroy should have put the A team ahead but after potting well, he missed a routine black and Chris McColgan did not need a second invitation. Watton made up for his earlier bad luck as he took out an eight ball finish after Adrian O’Kane went in off the break.
Wallace got his second win, but made hard work of it against McMullan. Stephen Warwick was another man getting his second after he took another good finish to edge past McIlroy. R
aymond Baxter and Chris McColgan played out a long, tactical frame with Baxter just scraping through, but Reid missed his chance to level the match at the halfway point as he gave Biggart too many chances. Baxter and McColgan met again, in a similar frame to the last, this time it was McColgan who stumbled over the line.
The A team finally got a few frames together. First of all, Wallace got his third win of the night, despite the fact he was far from his best in all of them. Reid then gave Warwick a taste of his own medicine as he fired home a blistering finish.
Willie Boreland was back in action again and he took the next to level the match at 7-7. However, once again Biggart was victorious in the last of the session.
Boreland then took his second to square it again, in a slow battle with McMullan. This was followed up by Wallace as he produced his best pool of the night when it mattered.
Watton could have taken the next but a couple of missed chances allowed Reid to put his side on the hill. It was left to O’Kane to seal the win and he played a smart frame to drag the A team over the line. Gary Wallace 4/4.
Mary Pats 3, Sperrin 11
The leaders continue their excellent run with this win.
Leigh Sloan had got the home side off to a good start, but Allen Tosh levelled with an eight ball finish after Martin McNeill had missed his last red. Andy Hutchinson put Mary Pats back in front but Paul O’Connor levelled with a typically dogged performance.
Davy Rosborough should have took the next but he missed an easy chance and Djion McCorkell made it 3-2 to the visitors. The leaders started to take control in the second session.
Tosh potted a great last red to see off Nolan Wilson, before Lee Caulfield fired home a great finish. O’Connor made it three in a row but not after Andy Hutchinson had missed the black.
Raymond Stockman got his first win of the night with an assured performance before Brian Hutchinson finally picked up another one for the home side with a solid finish against McCorkell.
Sperrin skipper Lee Caulfield started the third session well with some great potting to beat Rosbrough. Tosh made it three from three but Robert Todd put up a good fight.
Another man taking his third was O’Connor, who probably played the best pool of the night. This put the visitors on the hill and it was Stockman who sealed the points with a defeat of Andy Hutchinson. Allen Tosh, Paul O’Connor 3/3
Roost 0, Forge A 11
The visitors may just be hitting top form at the right time.
Marc Hutchinson and Ady Toner put the Forge 2-0 up with some good finishing. Corey Sweeney continued the form as he fired home a great eight ball finish.
It was Paul Baird and DD Campbell up next and it was the former who came out top in the battle of the seniors. Willie Eakin completed the first session whitewash, proving too strong for gGary Hunter.
George Cameron gave Toner a half chance in the next and the Forge man need no second invite to make it 6-0. Campbell should have taken the Roost’s first match next but missed after getting two shots and Sweeney won his second.
Eakin and Baird were the next victors before Hutchinson rattled home an eight ball finish to put the Forge on the hill. Sweeney sealed the deal, showing that he is back firing on all cylinders after his mid season break. Corey Sweeney 3/3.
Railway Arms 9, Floyds Bar 11.
A match which could have gone either way saw Floyds scrape over the line.
Richard McMullan and Alan McBride put the visitors two up but wins for John Huston, Stephen Blair and Arthur McMullan gave the home side a first session lead.
McBride levelled with his second win but another win for Blair, followed by Barry McLaughlin and Scott McClelland made it 6-3 to the home side.
Adam Watt pulled one back to leave his team team behind going into the third session.
The visitors started this session well and took the lead after wins for McBride, McMullan and Darryl Watt. However, the home side did take a lead into the last session as McLaughlin and Huston won their respective frames.
Another strong start to the session for Floyds saw wins for McBride, McMullan and Gary Simpson. This had put their team one from victory but McLaughlin made sure it went to the last.
In a battle of the captains, it was Darryl Watt who got the better of Arthur McMullan for the points. Alan McBride 4/4.
Forge Bar 11, Social Club 4
The Forge Bar stay in the hunt for a place in the top 8 with this victory.
Wins for Chris Moore, Matthew Hayes and Conor McGookin saw them take a first session lead, John Sweeney and David Shirlow the victors for the visitors. Moore got his second, with Daniel McAuley getting his first to make it 5-2.
Wins for Willy McMullan and another for Shirlow saw the Social Club get back into it, but McGookin took the last of this session for a 6-4 lead. A whitewash in the third session sealed the match.Moore and McGookin got their third wins of the night,
Hayes and McAuley getting their second and Johnny Stirling also getting one on the board. Chris Moore 3/3, Conor McGookin 3/3.
Blackthorn v Bullseye Old Boys
Walkover win for the Bullseye Old Boys. As this is the second fixture which the Blackthorn have failed to fulfil, they have now been expelled from the league.
This week’s fixtures
Railway Arms v Bullseye A
Bulseye B v Forge Bar
Social Club v Mary Pats
Sperrin v Roost Bar
Forge A – Bye
Bullseye Old Boys v Floyds Bar
League table (all teams played 12 games)
Bullseye A 21
Forge A 18
Bullseye B 14
Railway Arms 12
Bullseye Old Boys 10
Forge Bar 10
Social Club 7
Mary Pats 7