Festival gets under way

The 2013 Tennents Coleraine Pool League’s Festival of Pool kicks off this week, in what will be a highly competitive year as always.

The Bullseye Three Person Team started the event off last night with the winner expected to come from one of the top four. However, this is a competition that has thrown up shocks in the past and it may do again. Billy Moore, Lee Caulfield and Tommy Morrow would be many people’s favourites but they will face challenges from a number of quarters.

Willie Eakin, Marc Hutchinson and Corey Sweeny are a team with a lot of potential and could go well if Eakin can keep the two youngsters under control. From the Bullseye, Jimmy Moore, Willie Boreland and Gary Wallace may well see themselves as the number one team.

Other contenders – D Reid, A. O’Kane, R. Baxter: C Howard, P. Martin, J. McIlreavy: N. Smyth, A Tosh, D. McCorkell: S. Blair, B. McLaughlin, A.McMullan

The Clement Dealey Photography Knockout Cup starts tonight, with the climax on Friday evening, along with the Plate competition. The Sperrin will be looking to solidify their place as this season’s top team, but any of the top four of Bullseye A, Forge A and Floyds will fancy their chances of lifting the cup this year. The likes of Railway Arms and Bullseye B will have a chance if the draw works in their favour.

The Coleraine Times Captain’s Cup will once again sees a handicap format being used, which made it a very competitive event last year. New Sperrin captain Lee Caulfield will make his debut in the competition and will be looking to add this title to his repertoire. Damien Reid (Bullseye A) and Darryl Watt (Floyds) will be two who will be looking to pip Caulfield to the trophy. However, the unique format of this competition gives everyone a chance. With the likes of Keith Hunter (Bullseye Old Boys) and Martin McNeill (Mary Pats) getting frames up, they will fancy their chances of having a good run.

The league’s Senior Individuals is an open competition, so it is not guaranteed that the winner will come from within the league. However, Paul Baird will be looking to retain the title he won in fine style last year. Baird and Raymond Stockman enjoyed a titanic battle in the semi finals last year, and the Sperrin man will be looking for a chance to gain some revenge this year. Another man coming into the mix this year has to be former singles winner Wesley Douglas, having returned to the league after a few years out.

Other contenders – Paul O’Connor, Arthur McMullan, Hubert Smyth, John McIlreavy, Derek Allum

The 147 Club Individuals will be the one they all want to win this year. With the sad loss of last year’s champion, and six-time winner, Davy Tosh, the original trophy has now been retired and will be kept by Davy’s family. Due to this, being the first name on the new trophy will be a significant achievement.

This year’s favourite will undoubtedly be Tommy Morrow, he has not played a lot of league pool this season, but has been there for the big games, and made a major impact. He will be looking to add to his list of titles. Other former winners include Lee Hull, Lee Caulfield and Willie Eakin. Hull would arguably be the more consistent of the three, but any of them are capable of a good run. Raymond Baxter has now lost in the final on three occasions and he will be hoping to finally go one step further.

A player who has undoubtedly got the talent is young Marc Hutchinson. He has not really shown his best form in the singles but has a real chance if he can control his temperament. Floyds have had a good year and possibly the most improved player in the league is Ricky McMullan, and he could be fancied to go far, although teammate Scott Clark may have something to say about that. The singles field may have dropped in quantity over the last few years, but there is still a lot of quality in the field, so whoever lifts the trophy will deserve it.

Other contenders – Billy Moore, Allen Tosh, Raymond Stockman, Damien Reid, Gary Wallace

The League Doubles will revert to a traditional doubles this season in a move which has divided opinion within the ranks. This may favour the pairing of Tommy Morrow and Raymond Stockman, with Stockman’s controlled game complimenting Morrow’s precise potting and this could see them go a long way. Fellow Sperrin pair Billy Moore and Lee Caulfield will also fancy their chances, Moore will not be allowing his partner to take too many chances. Last year’s winners may have been a slight surprise in some people’s eyes but Allen Tosh and Gary Wallace played some excellent pool to lift the title. They will be right in the mix once again.

The Bullseye A have two fancied pairings in Damien Reid/Adrian O’Kane and Jimmy Moore/Raymond Baxter. These two pairings could not be any different in their styles but Reid and O’Kane have been their before and it will be interesting to see if their approach is more successful than the explosive, entertaining game of their teammates. Lee Hull and Willie Eakin team up again this year and have every chance if they can gel.

Due to the nature of the game, the doubles can throw up some surprises. There are a few pairings from the lower placed teams who could get a run if at their best. Stephen Blair and Barry McLaughlin (Railway Arms) are two players who are more than capable, as are Peter Martin and Clem Howard from the Social Club.

Other contenders – Chris Wade and Paul Baird; Keith Hunter and Ady Toner; Scott McClelland and Adam Watt

Programme of events

Tonight (Tuesday) - 7.45pm – Clement Dealey Photogrpahy Knockout Cup

Wednesday - 7.45 pm – Bull’s Eye 3 person team event (semi finals & finals); Coleraine Times Captain’s Cup

Thursday - 7.45 pm – Senior (Over 45s) Individuals; Under 23 Individuals (Both competitions are open to non registered players)

Friday - 7.45 pm – Clement Dealey Photography Knocokout Cup & Plate

Saturday - Time TBC – 147 Club Individuals

Sunday - Time TBC – League doubles (traditional format) Individuals final

Anyone requiring any further information on the above competitions, please contact secretary Raymond Baxter on 07909585853 or post on the league’s Facebook page.