The Sperrin maintained their 100% record with a hard fought win over Social Club, despite the heroics of the returning Peter Martin.
The league also welcomed back three heroes in Marc Hutchinson, Ady Toner and Gary Wallace. These three gentlemen were part of the Northern Ireland B1 team which won the Nations Cup in Dublin. A fantastic achievement for themselves, as well as the league.
Forge A 11 – 6 Bullseye B
The defending champions were made to work for this victory as the visitors performed well, only to run out of steam in the second half of the contest. Ady Toner, fresh from his success with the Northern Ireland B team at the Nations Cup, showed renewed confidence as he broke and finished against Stephen Warwick in the opener.
The dose was repeated by Darren Boyd with another super 8 ball finish against Kenny Watton. However, the Bullseye fought back well through wins for Stephen and David McMullan, including a break and finish for the latter. The visitors actually ended the first session in front as Steven Morton beat Chris Wade in a scrappy frame.
Watton got his win to start the second session, beating Toner in a see saw frame, before Lee Hull proved too strong for Chris McColgan to reduce the deficit to one again. Boyd levelled the score with a super black, but Morton once again showed his tactical nous to get the better of Marc Hutchinson, another member of the successful Nations Cup team.
Corey Sweeney made his first appearance of the night and he won a crucial frame with a great finish over Stephen McMullan, to leave it level at the midway point. The Forge stepped up a gear after this, as Boyd, Sweeney and Hull took the first three in the third session to open up an 8-5 lead.
Stephen McMullan managed to take advantage of a bad miss from Wade, however Toner won the next to leave it 9-6 going into the last session. The home side made no mistake as Sweeney and Toner fired in 8 ball finishes in the first two frames to seal the win. Corey Sweeney 3/3, Ady Toner 3/4
Bullseye Old Boys 5 – 11 Bullseye A
This scoreline probably flatters the A team a little, as the old boys could, and possibly should, have made this a much more uncomfortable night. Adrian O’Kane opened for the A team with a scrappy win over John O’Donnell but Hubert Smyth levelled with a similar win over Raymond Baxter.
The quality of the pool did not improve as Steven McIlroy scraped by the challenge of George Canning. However, Keith Hunter levelled the match with the first sign of quality in the match as he broke and finished againt opposing skipper Damien Reid. Jimmy Moore followed up with a good 8 ball finish of his own to give the A team a 3-2 lead from the first session.
Gary Wallace, returning to league action after a two week break, came back with a bang as he rattled home a super 8 ball finish to givethe A team some breathing space. However, this did not last long as Jeff Butcher took advantage of some awful pool by Baxter to bring it back to 4-3. Old Boys skipper Hunter should have levelled the match but, faced with the chance to put McIlroy in deep trouble, he opted to take a risky double instead and missed it by a foot, swinging the game in McIlroy’s favour.
The A team gained the momentum after this and wins for Adrian O’Kane and Jimmy Moore, with an outrageous double on the black when he looked in trouble. Despite finding themselves 7-3 down, the old boys did not give in and came out fighting in the third session, a second break and finish for Hunter on the night, followed by a win for Smyth made it 7-5.
Moore steadied the ship though as he took out a cool finish againt Derek Allum, before Wallace got the better of an unfortunate Sammy McCloskey. Steven McIlroy made it a good session for the A side, as he put his team on the hill, with an excellent double on the black tio get himself out of bother, probably the shot of the night.
The last session did not last long as Wallace made it three from three on his return to seal the points. Keith Hunter 2/3, Gary Wallace 3/3, Jimmy Moore 3/3, Steven McIlroy 3/3
Roost Bar 2 – 11 Railway Arms
A tough night for the home side as the visitors showed no mercy. They took the first session 4 -1 with wins for Johnny McDowell, Barry McLaughlin, Scott McClelland and Stephen Blair. The sole victor for the Roost being DD Campbell, beating a luckless John Huston.
Things didn’t get any better for Huston in the next session as he slumped to defeat again, this time against Uel White. However, thankfully he has godo team around him as this session mirrored the first with all four first session winners making it two from two, to leave the match 8-2 at the midway stage.
The win was soon to be confirmed as McDowell and McLaughlin made it three in a row, before captain Arthur McMullan stepped in to win the match. Johnny McDowell 3/3, Barry McLaughlin 3/3
Floyds 11 – 3 Forge Bar
The home side’s impressive recent form continued as they gave the youthful Forge team a harsh lesson. They started well as they took a 4-1 lead with wins for Ricky McMullan, Adam Watt, Scott Clark and Alan McBride. The visitors only joy came through Cahris Moore, a player with a good record so far this season.
Adam Watt started off the second session in similar fashion, closely followed by brother Darryl and a second win for Clark. Moore picked up a second victory for himself, but his teammates were not helping him at all as McBride made it 8-2 with a win over Scot Hamilton. Conor Kneeland gave the Forge a glimmer of hope as he took the first in the third session.
However, their hope was short lived as wins for the Watt brothers put their team on the hill, before Matthew Steen won the next to take the win for this team. Adam Watt 3/3
Blackthorn 7 -11 Mary Pats
This was undoubtedly the home team’s best performance of the night, and with a little bit of luck they could have had more to show for it. Karl Doherty started off for the home team with a solid win over Trevor White, before Martin McNeill levelled as he beat Davy Adams.
Andy Hutchinson took out a great finish against Ian Freeman to put the visitors ahead, and it looked as if Leigh Sloan would make it 3 – 1 only to go in off the black and hand the frame to home skipper Justin Mairs. Darryl Stirling was on his way to giving the home side a first session only to miss the black, thankfully Gary Kennedy could not take advantage, as Stirling got a second chance.
Doherty won his second of the night, as he opened up a two frame lead for the Blackthorn. The next game was short on quality, but had plenty of excitement, as George Nicholl took advantage of a missed black by Adams. Hutchinson won his second of the night, beating Mairs in a blackball fight. The visitors took the lead as Gary Kennedy won a tight battle against Freeman, but Stirling levelled the match at 5 -5 with a great finish. Sloan and Hutchinson took the first two in the next session as the home side struggled to find their earlier form, but a fluke on the black for Darryl Stirling helped them get back on track.
Davy Adams then levelled the match once again as he scraped by Robert Todd. However, Gary Kennedy won the last of the session to give Mary Pats a slender lead going into the last session. Kennedy was straight back on again and made it two in a row as he took advantage of a foul from Freeman. Andy Hutchinson played some solid safety to take the next and put his side on the hill.
It was left to skipper Martin McNeill to seal the points for his team. Karl Doherty 2/2, Andy Hutchinson 4/4, Gary Kennedy 3/4
Sperrin 11 – 7 Social Club
Social captain John McIlreavy started well for his side as he beat fellow veteran Paul O’Connor in a tactical opening frame. Neville Smyth levelled as he beat John Sweeney, sinking a great black but the Social man had his chances. Raymond Stockman made it 2-1 to the home side winning a poor frame against Simon McIlreavy.
Peter Martin made his debut for the Social Club and he registered a win against Allen Tosh. The ever reliable Billy Moore made sure of a first session lead for the Sperrin as he took advantage of a bad miss from David Shirlow. The second session was where the home side took control of the match, their number one player, Neville Smyth took the first, and despite Peter Martin pulling off an exellent finish, that was as good as it got. Stockman won his second frame of the night, despite still not being at his best, Allen Tosh fired home a break and finsh and skipper Lee Caulfield potted the black from a snooker to give the Sperrin a 7 – 3 lead at the halfway stage.
It looked like it would soon be over as Stockman and Tosh both added further wins, however, the Social club started to fight back well. Simon and John McIlreavy both produced good finishes, before Peter Martin won the session for the visitors to leave it at 9-6 going into the final session. Martin completed an impressive debut with his fourth win from four as he beat Tosh.
However, Smyth put his team on the hill, after Willy McMullan unbelievably missed a hanging black. It was left to Captain Caulfield to drag his side over the line as he controlled proceedings to beat Shirlow. Raymond Stockman 3/3, Neville Smyth 3/4, Peter Martin 4/4
This week’s fixtures
Railway Arms vs Social Club
Bullseye B vs Sperrin
Bullseye A vs Forge A
Forge Bar vs Bullseye Old Boys
Mary Pats vs Floyds Bar
Roost Bar vs Blackthorn Inn