THE First Division is off and running with the Sperrin A and the Forge A impressing in the opening week.
Last year’s champions Bullseye A showed signs of rustiness in their match against Raymond Stockman’s men, while new boys Social Club A showed they will be no pushovers with a deserved point against Darren Boyd’s Forge Bar side.
Many people see Railway Arms and the Bullseye B as the standout squads in the second division, and both teams flexed their might this week with thumping victories. Mary Pats picked up their first victory in a hard fought contest against Roost Bar.
Sperrin A 4 – 1 Bullseye A
The home side showed their title credentials for this year, with a convincing victory over the defending champions.
Lee Caulfield faced off against Jimmy Moore in the opening contest, neither player at their best. They shared the first two frames before Caulfield came out of a snooker to pot his last red only to miss the black, it looked like Moore would take the game, only to hang a relatively easy black.
Caulfield made it two from two as he teamed with Darryl Watt to run out convincing 3-1 winners in the first scotch doubles match. Tommy Morrow and Damien Reid shared 8 ball finishes in the next to go 1-1.
Morrow should have done the same in the decider but snookered himself on the black, Reid got two shots but failed to take advantage, allowing the home side to go three up.
Davy Tosh stopped the rot as he produced an eight ball finish in the opening frame against Raymond Stockman. Tosh followed up in the second after he potted all his reds, only to miss the black, however the Sperrin captain failed to take advantage.
Stockman did register a valuable win for his team though alongside Billy Moore in the next doubles match. The Bullseye pairing of Jimmy Moore and Willie Boreland struggled to find any rhythm, the Sperrin duo ran out comfortable 3-1 winners to secure an impressive victory.
Forge B 1 – 4 Forge A
The Forge A got their season off to a solid start, safely negotiating a spirited challenge from the Forge B. Raymond Baxter and Scott Clark met in the opener, Baxter had the first chance but ran out of position on his last ball, Clark capitalising, however Baxter responded with a break and finish to level the score.
Clark went for game in the decider but it was his turn to miss his last ball this time, allowing Baxter in to take out a good seven ball finish, putting his team one up.
Clark teamed up with Steven McIlroy in the first doubles match, taking the first frame. However, opponents Marc Hutchinson and Corey Sweeney got their act together to take the next steady in steady, if not spectacular fashion to put the A side two up.
Lee Hull and McIlroy met in the next singles, with the opening frame being a comedy of errors, both players struggling badly. After three long frames it was Mcilroy who put a point on the board. Hutchinson was next in singles action, against Julie Henderson, who was determined to get off to a winning start.
Henderson failed to back up her talk in the first frame, Hutchinson taking full advantage of an error by the NI ladies international. However, Julie replied in fine fashion to level up with an impressive finish.
The balls did not break well in the decider but Hutchinson managed to grind out a victory, and secure a point for the A side. Forge A captain Willie Eakin appeared in the next doubles match, drawn out alongside Baxter to face Henderson and John Huston.
The first two frames were shared with some decent pool. However, Baxter and Eakin stepped up a gear after this and took the next two to run out comfortable winners and seal the match in the process
Social Club A 3 – 3 Forge Bar
A hard fought contest at the Social Club, as the debutants performed well to secure their first point. Chris Moore saw off the challenge of Sean McNicholl in the opener, however, McNicholl got his revenge in the first doubles match, teaming up with Chris Wade.
The Forge pair ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Moore and Peter Martin. Allen Tosh put the home side back in front as he recovered from a bad start to beat Wade 2-1.
Darren Boyd was instrumental in getting the Forge back into the match. First of all he saw off Peter Martin in the singles, before teaming up with Paul Baird to beat Tosh and Gary Wallace in the second doubles match.
However, Wallace ensured his team would not leave empty handed as he beat Paul Baird in the last match to end the match 3-3
Railway Arms 5-1 Sperrin B
The home side showed their title credentials in this match with a thumping victory over a good Sperrin side. Timmy Close was back in league action and he got the visitors off to the perfect start as he beat Stephen Blair after losing the first frame.
Close then teamed up with Andy Lindsay, but they could not get past the challenge of Scott McClelland and Arthur McMullan as the match was levelled. The Arms did not look back from here, Barry McLaughlin ran out an easy 2-0 winner over Gaz Mullan, before Johnny McDowell was just as clinical against Easton Eardley.
The draw once again paired Blair & McLaughlin together for the home side and they made no mistake in their dboubles match against Eardley and Steven Wall.
An impressive victory was secured when Scott McClelland played a controlled game to beat Eddie Mullan in straight frames.
Bullseye B 6 – 2 Bullseye Old Boys
Steven Warwick’s men got their title challenge off to a good start against their derby rivals. Chris McColgan continued his strong form from last season with a convincing win over Michael Logue.
McColgan made it a double as he teamed up with Stephen Morton to beat Derek Allum and Howard Doherty. Bullseye’s new signing Morton has a decent record at this level and he showed he could be an important player for the home side as he battled back from one down to beat Allum in the singles.
Captain Warwick then made it 4-0 as he swept past the challenge of the veteran Doherty. The points were sealed when Keith Hunter & Kenny Watton beat Jeff Butcher and Michael Logue in the second doubles match.
Davy Logue made it 6-0, before the ‘old boys’ won the last 2 to halt the whitewash, this included a great win for Butcher over Northern Ireland B international Keith Hunter
Roost Bar 3 – 5 Mary Pats
Pat Conway got the home side off to a good start as he grinded his way to victory over Alvin Morrow.
Morrow made amends alongside Andy Hutchinson in the next doubles match, beating George Cameron and Stewart Mitchell in straight frames. Leigh Sloan made a winning debut for the Macosquin men, beating Charlie Speight.
Andy Hutchinson showed all his experience in his victory over Mitchell to put his side 3-1 up.
Pat Conway brought the home side back into the match again with his second victory of the night, teaming up with Speight to beat Morrow and Davy Roxborough. However, the Mary Pats pair can count themselves unlucky after going in off the black in the decider.
Roxborough put his side on the bring of victory though with 2-0 win over DD Campbell.
It was left to Marty McNeill to seal victory in a quality battle with George Cameron. Clive Robertson and DD cCampbell won the last doubles match to add some respectability to the scoreline.
This week’s fixtures
Bullseye A vs Forge B
Forge A vs Forge Bar
Sperrin A vs Social Club A
Social Club vs Railway Arms
Sperrin B vs Roost Bar
Bullseye B vs Mary Pats
Bullseye Old Boys - Bye
Forge Bar vs Bullseye A
Sperrin A vs Forge B
Social Club A vs Forge A
Bullseye Old Boys vs Social Club
Roost Bar vs Railway Arms
Bullseye B vs Sperrin B
Mary Pats - Bye