Division One title race is blown wide open

ONLY last week the league was beginning to look like a one horse race but teams in the chasing pack continue to pick up points and the leaders suffered defeat this week.

This gives four or five teams hope of finishing as winners or runners-up and leave an interesting run in to the league with only a handful of matches left!

The Anglers 6 O’Reilly’s 2 - Apologies go out to the Angler’s captain and players who saw themselves slip down the league last week having actually won the game. A mix-up with the results sheets meant the write up wasn’t published in time.

Week 13 Results: Railway 3 First & Last 5 - The motley crew of the F&L were visitors to the Railway this week and certainly covered themselves in glory after beating the former title challengers, who are in the middle of a very poor run of form. The Railway’s main men, Damian Dunn and Joe McGivern were full of confidence the previous weekend about beating the away side, but a no show from their star player, McGivern and a DJ Stevey G victory over young Dunn fairly insured the lads would be leaving with their tail between their legs. Had A McCahon been a bit more streetwise in his approach to the opening match, it may not have cost him the first frame, as he succumb to the experienced Bryan Lyness.

Taepot had the game in the bag but run out of position which cannot be afforded against an in form Damian Paxton who equalised for the Railway. The third frame saw Brian McCourt make easy work of Shane Finnegan, who virtually lay down and accepted defeat. Chris Parrot and Marty Lyness had created their own headlines this season already, but are only getting a mention this week for all the wrong reasons. Their approach to both of their frames give the Railway a 3-2 lead with wins from both of the Murphy brothers, Danny and Gary.

Stevey G had a rare appearance for the F&L, and his selection paid off as he equalised to re-kindle F&L hopes. The F&L went on to take the lead again through Brian McCourt & Brian Lyness before the captain’s picks, Stevey G & Taepot overcame the Railway’s impressive duo of Gary Murphy & D Paxton.

With their pride at stake the F&L intend on fighting to the end of the season to improve their position in the league!!

Bridge Bar B 3 O’Reilly’s 5: A basement battle saw two teams that have massively under-performed in the league this year clash for the second time. This week saw the scores reversed and a change of tactics from O’Reilly’s saw their order jumbled up to great effect. Ruby usually gets the ball rolling for the away side but this week seen R Connell beat an out-of-sorts R McGrath to put the Bridge B 1-0 up.

Brad’s class shone through to equalise for O’Reilly’s but S McKay’s impressive run of form continued, as he restored the home team’s one frame lead. With R Hunter up next the home side knew their lead was slender, and Aidy McGrath took advantage of Hunter’s careless positioning. With the game evenly poised, battle of the two pool league veterans, E McKay and D McConville, was sure to be a tight affair. However, McConville’s craft help the away side take the lead again. Next the two star men, Ricer and Ruby, went head to head in a vital game for both sides. Ricer was distracted by movements on the O’Reillys subs bench and lost his bottle before captain Ruby capitalised. Hunter and E.McKay made up for their singles defeats by pulling it back to 4-3 but it was Ruby and his old Mucker Decky’s night, as they made it three out of three on the night for themselves and the teams first victory in quite some time.

Angler’s 7 Bus Bar 1: Tam Barney’s were brought back down to earth in this crushing defeat by their nearest rivals. With the Angler’s looking to restore their pride after getting knocked out of the cup the night before, a victory was necessary.

M Cosgrove put the home side 1-0 but J Lyttle equalised. The third frame would be decisive as it saw the two Captains go head to head. The victor would surely spur their team on to win and BJ McAnearney prevailed to put the Anglers 2-1 up. The result seemed imminent for this early stage as the Anglers. Went on to win every remaining frame through B Burns M Doyle C McAnearney, then BJ McAnearney & M McParland and N Tumilty and B Burns. The league is now left perfectly poised to see if the Anglers can put their foot down and keep their undefeated streak up or if the Bus Bar can prove their bouncebackability and retain top spot!!

Imperial 4 The Market B 4: With one eye on their possible giant-killing away to Higgin’s in the cup on Monday night, the Imperial could not have been blamed for defeat here tonight. The Market B may have thought they had it rapped up but Ivor Wilson’s band of merry men fought hard and pulled a point out of nowhere. J Ferris had equalised after M McCormick put the away side 1-0 up and D Russell restored that one frame lead. R Kerr had a fantastic 8-Ball clearance to make it 2-2 but G Graham and P Beggs insured the Market took full control of the match. The doubles are still proving difficult when killing off opponents and the imperial took full advantage of the Market’s reluctance to finish the match. They go into their quarter final bout with Higgins with heads held high.

Mullhollands v Gilford Inn: A Gilford no-show saw Mullhollands take the points.

Cup result: Bridge Bar B 5 The Angler’s 2 - One of these teams is flying high in the league, but out of the cup. The other progressing in the cup, but struggling in the league. Controversy surrounded the scenario that led to this match being played a week late but good sportsmanship prevailed and it paid off in favour of the Bridge team, whose excellent cup run will compensate for their inconsistent league form. The Anglers stuck with their tried and tested order of play and after three frames it looked like paying off once again.

Wins from N Tumilty and M McGrath answered Wayne “Giggsy” McAllister’s win for the home side to leave the Anglers 2-1 up.

With their captain, BJ and his uncle on next for the away side they looked in safe hands, but a great shock saw P Malcolmson and S McKay put the home team to 3-2 up. The Bridge B team’s MVP, Ricer, got back to winning ways to leave his team massive favourites to progress to the semi-final.

Week 13 Table:

Bus Bar 13 19

Anglers Rest 13 19

Market B 13 17

Mulholland’s B 13 15

Railway Inn 13 14

First&Last 13 12

Bridge Bar B 13 11

Imperial 12 8

O’Reillys 12 8

Gilford Inn 13 5

Individuals start soon if you haven’t your entry in already there’s limited spaces left.

Remember ‘Last Man Standing” entry forms are available to buy behind the bar in Higgins, The Bridge, The Bus Bar, Mullholland’s (Dromore) The Imperial, The Market (Dromore) or see a pool league committee member. All entries must be returned to the results box in Higgins by Friday. A quarter of all funds raised are going to a good cause so the pool league really want your support.