Locals almost cause an upset in invitational match against NI

Local and NI Pool Team players Noel Meara and Kevin Smyth pictured with the Banbridge selection challengers Joe Meara, Matthew Smyth, Gareth McCartan and Michael Ward  � Edward Byrne Photography INBL31-265EB
Local and NI Pool Team players Noel Meara and Kevin Smyth pictured with the Banbridge selection challengers Joe Meara, Matthew Smyth, Gareth McCartan and Michael Ward � Edward Byrne Photography INBL31-265EB

The Northern Ireland Pool team appeared in the Coach Nightclub on Sunday in a challenge match against selected pool players from around the Banbridge area.

Two local lads, Noel Meara and Kevin Smyth, had split commitments as they had only recently played for the Northern Ireland squad in the world championship event held in Blackpool four weeks ago.

The NI squad consisted of Gregory Feeney, Chris Mulholland, Frank Wright, chairman of the NIPF, Nigel Craig, who is seeded in the top 32 in the world; Tommy Morrow, Order of Merit winner at the world championship event; and Carl Martin, U18 World Champion.

Banbridge raced into a 3-1 lead through wins from Joe and Noel Meara, then Micky Ward. Matthew Smyth was very unlucky in his frame to lose out to the current U18 champion.

However, the Northern Ireland players didn’t want to get shown up against the locals and fought back to go 6-4 up through two wins from Craig, one from Martin and two wins from Chris Mulholland.

Kevin Smyth started the ball rolling, defeating Mulholland whilst Noel Meara and Gareth McCartan pulled the score back to 7-7.

Meara then played a second frame, as a replacement, in the session to make the scoreline 8-8.

The international side were panicking and when Gareth McCartan looked like putting the Banbridge side up, missing his last yellow proved costly as NI were guaranteed a draw.

Kevin Smyth then tried an earn the local side a well earned draw, however he missed his last yellow too, resulting in Gregory Feeney clearing up a six-ball finish to pinch the match.

The NIPF and Banbridge District Pool League would like to thank the Coach for their excellent hospitality and Iveagh Leisure for providing the pool table and lighting.