LEADERS WIN AGAIN

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The Sperrin continue their fantastic start to the season with another convincing win over the Bullseye B, although the performance of that match went to Stephen Warwick, for his awesome clearance over Sperrin skipper Lee Caulfield.

The Bullseye was also the venue for the mammoth clash between defending champions Forge A and Damien Reid’s Bullseye A. This looked, on paper, to be a tough match to call, but it proved anything but, as Reid’s men produced their best performance of the season to sweep aside their opponents 11-3. This week also saw the Blackthorn pick up their first win since joining the league in a hard fought encounter with fellow strugglers the Roost. Another team picking up their first win was the Bullseye Old Boys, getting the reward for some recent good performances.

Bullseye A 11 – 3 Forge A

This was undoubtedly the match of the week as these two fancied teams clashed. It was the home side who made a great start as Jimmy Moore took advantage of Ady Toner missing his second last yellow to take the opener. Raymond Baxter met former teammate Marc Hutchinson in what turned out to be an uncharacteristic tactical affair. Baxter forced Hutchinson into going for the game, but after fluking his last two reds he had no shot on the black, allowing Baxter to take control and make it 2-0.

The next was a battle between two very experienced players as Forge captain Willie Eakin met Adrian O’Kane, the Forge man had first chance and played an excellent shot to develop the black but could only watch in horror as the white creeped into the middle pocket. O’Kane didn’t waste any time in making it 3-0. Paul Baird had a good chance to finally get the Forge off the mark but poor cue ball control cost him as Gary Wallace made it four.

Bullseye skipper Damien Reid showed no mercy as he fired in an 8 ball finish to give his side a 5-0 lead after the first session. Again, the cueball as proving to be the Forge’s worst enemy as Darren Boyd potted the black but could not keep the white out to give Adrian O’Kane his second win of the night. Baxter and Hutchinson met again in another cagey affair, this time Baxter was forced into going for game but couldn’t develop the black despite some good efforts. However, the former Forge man got a stroke of luck as he managed to fluke the black into the middle. Amazingly, it was soon 8-0 as Gary Wallace fired home an excellent 8 ball finish to beat Eakin.

Jimmy Moore broke in the next hoping to add to the Forge’s misery, but he went in off, allowing Paul Baird the chance to get the Forge off the mark. Baird showed that he can still produce when it matters as he took out an excellent finish to get his team on the scoreboard at the ninth time of asking. The reprieve di not last long as Damien Reid was in great form once again, sweeping aside the challenge of Toner to make it 9-1 at the halfway stage. Reid was straight back on and he pulled out another great finish to beat Hutchinson. Boyd and O’Kane met next in what was probably the worst match of the night as both players struggled, it was Boyd who ensuredthe match would continue as he potted a good black.

Eakin managed to get his revenge over Wallace after the last session to give his side a very slight glimmer of rescuing something from this match. It was down to Ady Toner to keep the match alive, and after winning the lag, the balls broke well and he looked odds on to win the frame. However, he always seemed to be struggling with his positional play and ended up with a tough black which he missed. This allowed opponent Baxter back to the table, still with work to do. The Bullseye man took his time, leaving some good snookers, before he got his chance and took it sealing the win against his former team. Damien Reid 3/3, Raymond Baxter 3/3

Bullseye B 3 – 11 Sperrin

The home side will need to do some work on their stamina, as for the second week in a row, they started well, only to collapse as the match moved into the later sessions. Billy Moore and Neville Smuyth took the first two for the Sperrin, Smyth with an excellent 8 ball finish in his frame. Stephen McMullan pulled one back with an excellent escape from a snooker to pot the black.

Steven Morton had an excellent break in the next as he potted five balls, however, he failed to pot another and Allen Tosh took full advantage. However, Stephen Warwick brought his team back into things with the finish of the night. After Caulfield hung the black, Warwick still had work to do with his three remaining yellows. After two good pots he didn’t have an easy shot on his last yellow, but in typical fashion, he rattled in a double which drew the loudest cheer of the night, before depositing the black to send a speechless Caulfield back to this seat.

The match was soon level as Stephen Biggart produced an excellent 8 ball finish to beat Billy Moore. The Sperrin regained their composure and stepped up a gear after this. Tosh won his second of the night with a hard fought win over Kenny Watton, before Smyth controlled proceedings to beat Chris McColgan.

Captain Caulfield recovered after his last encounter to beat McMullan with a great black to finish. Warwick never got a chance to repeat his heroics of earlier as O’Connor took out an excellent finish to make it 7-3 at the halfway stage. Caulfield won his next, closely followed by Allen Tosh to put the league leaders firmly in control. O’Connor was on top form as he produced another excellent finish, before Raymond Stockman sealed the victory despite missing the black at the first attempt. Allen Tosh 3/3

Roost Bar 8 – 11 Blackthorn

Both of these teams would have seen this as an opportunity to pick up their first points of the season, but it was the debutants who pulled through in a nip and tuck contest. Stewart Mitchell and Davy Adams met in the opener, with Adams having some issues with keeping the white out of the pocket, this eventually cost him as Mitchell took the win. Johnny Stirling levelled with a win over George Cameron, in a game that could have went either way.

The Roost went back in front through captain DD Campbell but oppising skipper Justin Mairs levelled the match, potting a good black to beat Pat Conway. The Roost looked like they would take a first session lead but a missed black by Clive Robertson cost them, and Karl Doherty stole the frame for the visitors. The Blackthorn kicked on from this as they won the next two through Ian Freeman and Johnny Stirling. DD Campbell won his second of the night to get his team back on track, before Mitchell also picked up another one after Darryl Stirling potted the black too soon.

However, Mairs got the better of Conway once again to make it 6-4 at the break. Adams took the first of the third session, closely followed by Johnny Stirling with his 3rd win of the night, but only after Robertson missed another black. Conway finally got one over on Mairs despite missing his first attempt at the black, but Karl Doherty had too much for Mitchell in the next.

DD Campbell showed his team how it should be done with his third win on the night to reduce the deficit to 9-6 going into the last session. Freeman took the first frame in the last session to leave the Blackthorn on the hill. However, wins for Mitchell and George Cameron kept the match alive. A man of the match performance from Johnny Stirling, winning his fourth frame of the night, sealed the first win in the league for the Blackthorn. DD Campbell 3/3, Johnny Stirling 4/4

Railway Arms 11 – 4 Social Club

Another good win for the Railway Arms who find themselves in 5th place, only one point behind the Forge A. Peter Martin has started off well since joining the social club and he procued a good finish to beat Stephen Blair in the first. However, captain Arthur McMullan levelled before a welcome win for John Huston put the home side ahead.

John McIlreavy used all his experience to beat Scott McClelland but the home side went on a great run after this. A couple of wins for Barry McLaughlin, Blair and McClelland getting off the mark, and another for McMullan saw them rush into a 7-2 lead, with Peter Martin taking the last frame of the second session to make it 7-3 at the halfway stage. The first two frames were shared with wins for Blair and Uel Kirkpatrick, but the home side sealed the points as McMullan, Huston and McClelland won. Arthur McMullan 3/3

Mary Pats 7 – 11 Floyds Bar

Another good win for Floyds who remain joint second with Bullseye A. The home side had got off to a good start as Gary Kennedy beat Darryl Watt. However, the visitors bounced back straight away, two good finishes from Adam Watt and Scott Clark made it 2-1 before Alan McBride won a tight frame against Andy Hutchinson. Marty McNeill beat Ricky McMullan to reduce the arrears to 3-2, before the pair mety again in the first frame of the second session, this time McMullan got the win.

Another repeat of the first session was Kennedy meet Watt, and again roles were reversed as Darryl produced a good finish to put his team 5-2 in front. Nolan Wilson took the next for Mary Pats with a solid performance including a great double on the black. In yet another repeat of the first session, McBride met Hutchinson, and once again the result went the opposite way as Hutchinson scraped through. Scott Clarke made no mistakes in the next to put Floyds 6-4 ahead going into the third session.

Kennedy started off the next session with a lucky win over McMullan, before Darryl Watt reinstated the two frame lead. Brian and Andy Hutchinson both recorded wins to bring the match level, before Scott Clarke made it three from three, leaving the match finely poised at 8-7 to the visitors with a session left. Alan McBride showed better form in the next, as he beat George Nicholl.

Andy Hutchinson should have once again reduced the deficit to one frame, but a shocking miss gave Scott Clakre an easy black for his fourth win of the night, to put his team on the hill. Darryl Watt played the captain’s role as he dragged his team over the winning line, but the home side had put up a great fight. Scott Clarke 4/4, Darryl Watt 3/4

Forge Bar 8 – 11 Bullseye Old Boys

The old boys had been putting in some good performances lately, but probably not getting the results they deserved. However, it all changed with this match. Keith Hunter kept a good recent run going with a win over Conor Kneeland. Forge Bar’s new signing Matthew Hayes started off with a win over Hubert Smyth, before wins for Dean Vauls and Scott Hamilton put the home side 3-1 up.

Jeff Butcher managed to reduce the deficit going into the second session. Buthcer was straight back on again, but this time Conor Kneeland got his revenge. Another win for Vauls left it 5-2 to the home side and it looked to be going their way. Hubert Smyth and John O’Donnell managed a win for the old boys, but a second win for Hamilton left it 6-4 in the home side’s favour at the break. It wasn’t getting any better for the visitors as wins for Vauls and Kneeland left them staring down the barrel of defeat as they went 8-4 down.

However, they showed great spirit as the fightback began. Wins for Butcher, Derek Allum and George Canning brought them right back into the match, leaving them just 8-7 down with a session to go. In a battle of the captains, Keith Hunter levelled the match as he beat Daniel McAuley. Allum and O’Donnell got their second wins of the night to put their team on the hill. It was left to Butcher who beat Kneeland, to record his third win of the night, and seal one of the best second half performances that the league will see this season. Jeff Butcher 3/4

This week’s fixtures

Blackthorn v Railway Arms

Floyds Bar vs Roost Bar

Bullseye Old Boys vs Mary Pats

Forge A vs Forge Bar

Sperrin vs Bullseye A

Social Club vs Bullseye B