The match of the week was undoubtedly the reigning champions, Forge A, against last year’s runners up Sperrin.
This was expected to be a close contest, however, it proved anything but as Lee Caulfield’s men put down a marker for the season ahead by thumping their rivals. Even this soon into the season, the Sperrin are only one of two teams to have a 100% record, alongside Bullseye A, who enjoyed a comfortable win over Blackthorn. Elsewhere, the league saw it’s first stalemates of the new season as Railway Arms and Mary Pats enjoyed a great battle, as did Bullseye Old Boys & Social Club.
Forge A 4 – 11 Sperrin
This was the biggest game of the season so far and it was the visitors who started the strongest as Neville Smyth kept up his recent good form with a break and finish in the opener, and despite Lee Hull levelling at 1-1, the Sperrin kicked on as Raymond Stockman and Billy Moore took the next two, punishing mistakes from Corey Sweeney and Ady Toner respectively.
A 4-1 first session lead was secured when Tommy Morrow, making his first appearance of the season, won a tactical battle against March Hutchinson. Paul O’Connor took the first frame of the second session, before Forge threatened a mini revival with good finishing by Willie Eakin and Toner. Morrow was involved in another tactical affair, once again coming out on top to reinstate his side’s three frame advantage.
It looked like the Sperrin would increase their lead further, however, Moore honestly called a foul on himself on his last ball to hand Hutchinson the frame, leaving a midway score of 6-4. O’Connor was drawn out first once again and he made it two from two in a long, long tactical frame. Morrow then made it three from three on his seasonal debut, before Neville Smyth rattled home an 8-ball finish to leave his former team mates reeling at 9-4 down. It was left to Allen Tosh and Billy Moore to seal and emphatic win before the last session. Tommy Morrow 3 out of 3
Mary Pats 10-10 Railway Arms
A cracking contest between two teams who should harbour hopes of making the top four this season. Mary Pats were handed the first frame as Scott McClelland potted the black and white, giving Gary Kennedy the win. The hosts soon went two up as Martin McNeill beat John Huston in a tight frame. The visitors came roaring back though, Stephen Blair potted a great black before skipper Arthur McMullan levelled the match.
Barry McLaughlin ensured a 3-2 lead for the Arms, taking advantage of Leigh Sloan’s inability to control the cueball. Kennedy started the second session with another win before Nolan Wilson fired in an 8-ball finish to make put the home side in front again. Trevor White made his comeback to league action with a solid win over Blair, before Sloan made amends for his earlier loss. McClelland ensured it would not be a whitewash in the second session as he beat McNeill to leave a halfway score of 6-4 to Mary Pats.
The third session started with John Huston getting his first win for his new team, before Blair won his second of the night to level the match once again. It should have been three in a row for the Arms but, apparently, a bad roll off cost Scott McClelland, Brian Hutchinson taking the win. However, this amazing match swung back in the Arms’ favour once again with wins for McLaughlin and McMullan to leave it 8-7 in their favour going into the last session.
The home side started well in the final session, searching for their first win of the season good wins for White and Kennedy put them back in front, before Andy Hutchinson got the better of McClelland in a very tight frame to put his side on the hill. However, the Arms battled back through Blair, before John Huston held his nerve to take the last frame and secure a draw in this fantastic advert for league pool. Gary Kennedy 3/3 ; Stephen Blair 3/4
Floyds 11 – 8 Bullseye B
A match which showed how momentum can change so much with the one frame format, as the away side got off to a blistering start, but ended up with nothing on the night. Scott Clark won the first for the home side, but the visitors took the next four with wins for debutant David McMullan, Stephen Morton, Drew Hutchinson and Stephen Warwick. The Bullseye started the second session in similar fashion as McMullan made it two from two, before Hutchinson also got his second win. Adam Watt stopped the rot with a win over Morton, bot Chris McColgan resumed normal service getting his revenge on Clark. Matthew Steen made his league debut and he impressed as he gave Floyds a glimmer of hope, with a win over Warwick but it still left a halfway score of 7-3 to the visitors.
The fithback began in the third session as Watt and Clark took the first two. Despite Stephen Biggart taking the next, the home side finished strong with Steen and Gary Simpson winning to bring the score back to 8-7 in favour of the away side. However, Floyds kicked on from here as further wins for Clark and Watt put them in front, before Ricky McMullan and Matthew Steen secured what looked, at one stage, an unlikely victory. Scott Clark 3/4, Adam Watt 3/4
Roost Bar 6-11 Forge Bar
The young Forge team made it 2 wins on the trot with a good performance against the Roost. George Cameron has got the home side off to a good start, but the Forge took the next three through Chris Moore, Conor Kneeland and James Nesbitt. Pat Conway stopped the rot to leave it 3-2 to the visitors after the first session. In the last two weeks the Roost have bought Uel White and David Hutchinson back to league action and both players showed their worth with good wins to put their team back in front.
Captain DD Campbell also registered a victory, while wins for Dean Vauls and another for Moore left the match all square at the interval. The match was won (And lost) in the next session as skipper Daniel McAuley rallied his troops to take the first four frames. Moore taking a third, Kneeland and Nesbiit also picking up wins, not to mention the captain himself. Stewarty Mitchell was the only winner for the Roost in this sessuion leaving them with a mountain to climb at 9-6 down. Chris Moore has been in top form recently and made it four from four once again as he beat David Hutchinson. The win was sealed as McAuley held his nerve. Chris Moore 4/4
Blackthorn 1 – 11 Bullseye A
The harsh reality of league pool goes on for the new boys as they met one of the top teams in the area. This was never going to be easy for a team in search of their first points. The Blackthorn are still getting to grips with the rules and Stan Beech failed to hit a cushion twice in the opening frame handing the initiative to Damien Reid. Jimmy Moore took the second, despite missing the black initially when on for a break and dish.
Steven McIlroy made it three with a scrappy win over Ryan Hayes. Raymond Baxter misshed his last red on his way to a break and finish in the next, opponent Justin Mairs played a good snooker, but an excellent escape by Baxter made it 4-0. Adrian O’Kane typically controlled proceedings to make it a clean sweep in the first session. Baxter made it two from two as he beat scraped by Beech, before Moore also picked up his second, but opponent Davy Adams had his chances.
Jonny Stirling had a good chance to get his side’s first frame but went in off his second last yellow leaving McIlroy an easy black. The home side finally had something to cheer about as Justin Mairs got their first frame on the board after opponent O’Kane potted a good black only for the white to find it’s way to the middle pocket. Normal service was soon resumed through captain Damien Reid to make it 9-1 at the break.
Jimmy Moore made it three from three as he beat Davy Adams in a fun filled contest before Baxter sealed the win as he just about done enough to beat Mairs for a second time. Jimmy Moore 3/3, Raymond Baxter 3/3
Bullseye Old Boys 10 – 10 Social Club
This looked a close contest on paper and so it proved, with another team producing a great comeback after falling behind early. John McIlreavy got his team off to a good start, however opposing captain Keith Hunter matched him with a win over Uel Kirkpatrick in a poor contest. The home side kicked on from here, Jeff Butcher beat Willy McMullan after the Social Club man sportingly called a foul on himself.
Two solid wins for Sammy McCloskey and John O’Donnell gave the home side a 4-1 lead at the end of the opening session. The second session started in similar fashion, further wins for McCloskey, Butcher and O’Donnell and all of a sudden it was 7-1. A strong fightback from the visitors was required and McMullan started it off, before Uel Kirkpatrick got a win under his belt to leave it 7-3 at the halfway point. Keith Hunter took the first in the next session over his fellow captain, before Clem Howard celebrated his return to the Coleraine league with a hard fought win.
O’Donnell made it three from three, before McMullan and David Shirlow responded for a Social Club team facing a 9-6 deficit doing into the last session. John McIlreavy got the better of Derek Allum for the second time, before Butcher won to put his side on the hill. However, some excellent pool from the away side saw wins for McMullan, Kirkpatrick and Howard secured an unlikely draw in what was an excellent contest. Jeff Butcher 3/3, John O’Donnell 3/4, Willie McMullan 3/4
This week’s fixtures
Railway Arms v Sperrin
Social Club v Forge A
Bullseye B v Bullseye OB
Bullseye A v Floyds
Forge Bar v Blackthorn
Mary Pats v Roost