The 2014 European Blackball Association Nations Cup of Pool, hosted by the Northern Ireland Pool Association in the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine, drew to a close last Monday.
It was the first major Pool event held in Northern Ireland in many years and what a huge success it was with praise galore from visiting countries England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Titles were contested in various sections, Mens, Ladies, Seniors, Masters, Under 18 and Under 23 on twenty four brand new tables.
Team Northern Ireland had their best showing ever at a Pool event, being involved in a total of seven finals, team and individual. It was local man Willie Eakin from Potters Snooker and Pool Club in the town who got the loudest cheer of the week when he became 2014 Seniors Individual Champion winning the deciding frame against England’s Barry Finnan. In the Mens Team event Northern Ireland, which included Coleraine lads Marc Hutchinson and Gary Wallace, agonisingly lost out in the Final to a last frame decider, 17-16 against Wales.
The atmosphere in the arena in Finals Day was unique as each semi Final and Final was keenly contested.
Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan, Pauline Lynch (NIPA Chairperson), Mike Davies (EBA Youth Development) and William Nicholl (Lodge Hotel) closed the nine day long event with a memorable Presentation Ceremony. The NIPA would like to thank all our sponsors for making this event possible, McLeans Bookmakers, Tennents NI, Lynas Food Services and The Lodge Hotel itself and thanks also go to Coleraine Borough Council for assistance received.
After the excitement of last week’s Nations Cup here in Coleraine, it was back to domestic action as, for the first time this season, a full programme of fixtures were played.
The match of the week was undoubtedly at the Sperrin as the previously unbeaten Potters Allstars faced their biggest test to date against Raymond Stockman’s outfit. It proved to be an excellent contest with Paul O’Connor, for the home side, and Lee McIlreavy for the visitors ensuring the game was level moving into the first doubles game.
Lee had beaten Billy Moore in his singles game but the tide turned as Moore, alongside skipper Stockman, put the Sperrin in front again. However, Conor Kneeland and Stefan Christie turned the game on it’s head as they produced excellent performance to defeat Lee Caulfield and Chris Wade respectively.
Although, this Sperrin duo produced a much stronger performance paired together in the last doubles match to send the match to a play off. It was no doubt a tough decision for Stockman as none of his players had really impressed but he stuck with Moore, the Allstars unsurprisingly selecting Lee McIlreavy. With the first two frames shared, McIlreavy had the game at his mercy but a terrible miss gave Moore a lifeline and he took it, giving Sperrin the 2 points from what was an excellent contest.
It was a good week for the Social Club as they picked up two wins, one in their scheduled match against Seagull Potters and also picking up the points from their outstanding game against Mary Craigs B. The signing of Scott Clark has given the Social Club a very capable squad and with Willy Fillis picking up some good results, they are not a team to be taken lightly.
Their game against Seagull Potters was particularly hard fought and it came down to an excellent performance in the final doubles match by Fillis and Uel Kirkpatrick to seal the win. It will be interesting to see how they perform in this week’s fixture against the Sperrin.
Potters A probably feel that their season hasn’t really got started yet due a number of postponements. However, when they have played they have made light work of their opponents and it was no different this week with a comfortable victory over the Bullseye Old Boys. Keith Hunter getting the better of Marc Hutchinson was the only highlight for the Old Boys as wins for Uel Stewart, Willie Eakin and Darryl Watt combined with a Scotch doubles victory for Stewart and Hutchinson saw them over the line.
In the week’s other games, the Railway Arms remained unbeaten and The Roost picked up their second win on the bounce.