AFTER three weeks play in the Hayes Fuels Mid Ulster League it is becoming increasingly congested at the top of the league table. The most successful team in Mid Ulster League history, St Pat’s A, has emerged as title contenders after a poor showing last season. Only two points separate St Pat’s A, Pot Black and leaders Swa Men.
St Pat’s A had two games this week as a result of their facilities being unavailable last Monday night due to the Northern Ireland competition being held in the Magherafelt venue. First up for St Pat’s was clubmates St Pat’s C. Colin Reid shared the opening two frames with Seamus Wright and only for an excellent clearance in the opening frame Reid would have tasted a rare defeat.
Brian Milne moved the ‘A’ team into the lead with a convincing victory over Damien Craig. Milne will rue a poor shot from black to red in the opening frame as the reason for missing out on the second century of the season, a break of 85 however, was more than adequate to secure the frame. John Paul Donaghy made a rare appearance and showed he hasn’t lost any of his flair as he took both frames from Brian Milne Snr. Donaghy will consider himself rather fortunate however as a horror miss on the black in the opening frame wasn’t punished by Milne. The let off inspired Donaghy and he ensured a 5-1 victory for his side by claiming the second frame.
Longfield A was the next up for St Pat’s A and again the Magherafelt side secured a vital victory by four frames to two. John Donaghy shared the opening frames with Noel McAllister as did Philip O’Hagan and Colin Reid. The last match resulted in Brian Milne taking both frames from Seamus Kane to secure a victory that moved his side into third position in the league table.
Swa Men entertained St Kevin’s and the league leaders continued their impressive start to the season with yet another victory. Kevin Murray could do little to prevent Martin Mc Larnon claiming yet another two points as he showed that he still has the talent to compete with the best on his current handicap.
Jordan Shivers kept up his equally impressive start as he shared frames with the home captain Mark Doherty. Dessie Murray tried his best to level matters but could only manage one frame against the ever improving Seamus Lagan to ensure that the Swa Men secured a crucial 4-2 victory.
St Pat’s B took on St Pat’s C and will be disappointed to only claim four of the frames against the basement boys. Kieran Cassidy was in superb form against Brian Milne Snr and he easily took the opening frame but the second frame spelt disaster for Cassidy.
With only the black ball remaining Cassidy inexplicably managed to miss the black ball entirely to gift the frame to Milne. Enda McCusker was in a strong position against Damien Craig but also managed to throw a crucial point as Craig claimed the brown, blue, pink and black to grab an unlikely victory.
Sean Doyle rescued victory for his side but had a battle on his hands to do so as he needed a 34 clearance to take opening frame on the black against Brendan ‘the bullet’ Gilmore. A 4-2 victory will hardly inspire the St Pat’s B following but it is a victory nevertheless.
The last game of week three, was between Johnny’s and Pot Black. Paul McGuckin took a week off and was replaced with Darren Gribben. Former Individual champion Gribben showed he still has what it takes as he knocked in an excellent 55 break to secure a 2-0 victory over Frankie Trolan. Gerry McAuley then shared frames with All Ireland team mate Peter Reilly in a closely contested match. The last game of the night resulted in Dermot McAuley sharing frames with Pot Blacks last players and as a result the Cookstown side claimed a deserved 4-2 victory.
Following the report in last week’s paper relating to the controversy over the final frame in the Pot Black v St Kevin’s match, it has been requested by the Pot Black club that their side of the story is highlighted.
The Tyrone outfit wish to highlight that Jordan Shivers was in charge of the game and although a player from their side highlighted an error in the score it was to the benefit of the St Kevin’s club and did not give an advantage to his side. As a result of this incident it has been decided that each game must have a referee if possible and that any decisions regarding the game will be decided by the two players involved and the referee in charge.
Players are reminded that the six red competition will take place on Monday 19th December with a 7.15pm start time. The draw will take place at 7pm and entry fee will be £3 per player. Any players not registered by 7pm will not be included in the draw.
Kieran Cassidy will start off as favourite to defend the title he claimed last season.
Swa Men 18 14
Pot Black 18 13
St Pat’s A 18 12
St Kevin’s 18 9
St Pat’s B 18 9
Johnny’s 18 9
Longfield 18 3
St Pat’s C 18 3
Fixtures Monday 12th December
Johnny’s v St Kevin’s St Pat’s A v Pot Black, Longfield v St Pat’s B & St Pat’s C v Swa Men.