Sperrin beat champions

The Tennents Coleraine Pool League commenced again after the Christmas and New Year break and it was Floyds who seemed to suffer the biggest hangover, as they slumped to their first defeat since week 1, as they were beaten by Bullseye B.

Defending champions Forge A slumped to another defeat against one of the top 4, as they were comfortably beaten by the Sperrin. The Bullseye A sit locked at the top of the table with the Sperrin, as they beat Blackthorn, but not as comfortably as they might have expected.

Sperrin 11 – 5 Forge A - The visitors would have expected to make much more of a match here as they raced into a 3-0 lead with wins for Chris Wade, Lee Hull and Marc Hutchinson. It should have been 4-0 but a mistake by Ady Toner, allowed Tommy Morrow back in to record the first for the home side. This proved to be a huge turning point in the contest. Lee Caulfield took the last frame of the first session, but it was the second session where the Sperrin took control as they won all five frame.

Morrow and Caulfield added their second each, with further wins for Raymond Stockman, Neville Smyth and Billy Moore, ensuring a 7-3 lead at the halfway point. Morrow proved reliable as ever as he beat Hull in the next, before Smyth made it 9-3, sweeping Hutchinson aside. The visitors managed to stop the rot as Chris Wade won his second of the night, and a comeback threatened as Toner took out Stockman shortly afterwards. However, in a clash of the captains, Caulfield got the better of Willier Eakin to put his side on the hill, with a session still to play.

They didn’t have to wait long for their win as Morrow was drawn out first in the last session and he fired home a great finish to seal the victory. Tommy Morrow 4/4; Lee Caulfield 3/3

Railway Arms 11 – 4 Mary Pats - Another good win for the home side who remain in sixth place. Scott McClelland started for the Arms, struggling to a win against Leigh Sloan. Stephen Blair doubled the lead, before Arthur McMullan beat fellow captain Martin McNeill to make it 3-0. Andy Hutchinson was the only victor for the Macosquin outfit in the first session, as Barry McLaughlin made it 4-1 to the Arms.

A strong second session effectively ended this match as a contest as McMullan, Blair, McLaughlin and McClelland all added a second, even John Huston got one on the scoreboard. The visitors only started to play in the next session as Davy Rosborough took the next and even though McMullan won his third of the night, wins for Sloan and Hutchinson added a little more respectability to the scoreline. Mary Pats skipper McNeill should have prolonged the match but bad miss on the black allowed Barry McLaughlin back in to seal the win for the Arms. Arthur McMullan 3/3

Bullseye B 11 – 9 Floyds. Scorecard not received at time of writing.

Forge Bar 11 – 4 Roost - The basement side continue to seach for their first points of the season, as the home side produced the better pool on the night. The Forge took the first three through skipper Daniel McAuley, Johnny Stirling and Chris Moore, although all three games were short on quality. The first moment of quality came as Stewart Mitchell brushed aside the challenge of Conor Kneeland to put the Roost on the board.

However, Matthew Hayes produced a quality finish of his own to give the home side a 4-1 lead in the first session. McAuley added his second, beating Uel White for a second time, before Kneeland made amends for his previous display to beat DD Campbell. The visitors threatened a fightback as Pat Conway and Clive Robertson picked up wins. However, a typically strong Chris Moore performance ensured a 7-3 lead at midway.

Moore was straight back on again and took care of Robertson, before Mitchell won his second of the night to give his team a glimmer of hope to get back in the match. The home side finished strongly though, as Hayes, Kneeland and McAuley, with his third win on the night, secured the win. Daneil McAuley 3/3

Bullseye A 11-5 Blackthorn - Despite a good start, the home side made this match tought for themselves against a resilient Blackthorn team. Adrian O’Kane started the ball rolling for the home side with a hard fought, and somewhat fortunate, victory over Karl Doherty. Steven McIlroy had a more comfortable win in the next before Gary Wallace fired home an excellent finish to make it 3-0. The visitors got back in the game as Darryl Stirling took advantage of some slack play by Jimmy Moore.

Moore’s teammate Raymond Baxter was just as bad in the next as Justin Mairs battled for the win to make it 3-2. Moore made amends for his earlier performance as he won the first in session two, but Doherty got the better of O’Kane this time, to bring the deifict back to a single frame. McIlroy also had a familiar opponent, but he was too trong for Davy Adams once again. However, the visitors would not give up and Stirling won his second of the night.

The ever dependable Wallace won the 10th frame to give the home side a nervy 6-4 lead. The second half of the match started with Jimmy Moore, finally knuckling down, beating Doherty. The Bullseye still could not kick on though, as Adams got the better of O’Kane in a poor quality affair. McIlroy steadied the ship with his third win of the night, probably playing his best pool of the season. Another player taking his third win of the night was Gary Wallace, as he took advantage of a bad miss by Stirling to make it 9-5.

The next match saw Baxter up against Ian Freeman, once again the Bullseye man was not at his best, but an excellent pot on the black saw him through. With the home team on the hill, Baxter was straight back on again, facing Mairs for the second time. The Blackthorn skipper should have won this one also, but made an error with only two reds left and left Baxter a simple finish to wrap up proceedings. Gary Wallace 3/3, Steven McIlroy 3/3

Social Club 10 – 10 Bullseye Old Boys - A cracking match between two sides who look evenly matched on paper, with the home side definitely welcoming the return of Lee McIlreavy. Willy McMullan took the first for the home side with a great finish against Jeff Butcher, but John O’Donnell levelled up beating Daviod Shirlow in a tight battle. John Sweeney put the home side in front again after a long, safety battle with Derek Allum but old boys skipper Keith Hunter made it 2-2 with a qualifty finish.

However, his counterpart John McIlreavy was not to be outdone as he beat fellow veteran Hubert Smyth with an equally impressive finish. Lee McIlreavy got the first win of his return to make it 4-2 before father John added another, but only after Smyth had missed the black in their second meeting of the night. Hunter also took his second of the night, before Wesley Douglas finally found some form as he got the better of Sweeney.

McMullan ensured the social club took a lead into the third session with an excellent 8-ball finish after a dry break from O’Donnell. Douglas reduced the deifict to one frame as he outwitted Lee McIlreavy, before Hubert Smyth squared the match with a great finish. The home side crept in front again as Shirlow finished with an excellent black, but the old boys came roaring back with wins for O’Donnell and Hunter, the latter’s third of the evening, to put the old boys in front for the very first time.

Hunter was straight back on again and kept his 100% record intact to make it 9-7 in his side’s favour. However, a great clearance by Lee McIlreavy, under great pressure, gave the social club some momentum. He was closely followed by his father John, who produced a great double on the black, before McMullan grinded out the victory over Allum, to put the home side on the hill. However, the old boys were not to be denied their point, as George Canning, who was making his first appearance of the night, held himself together to finish in fine style. A draw was probably a fair result in what was a very good match. John McIlreavy 3/4; Keith Hunter 4/4

This week’s fixtures: Sperrin v Railway Arms; Forge A v Social Club; Bullseye OB v Bullseye B; Floyds v Bullseye A (venue TBC); Blackthorn v Forge Bar; Roost v Mary Pats.