Coach pull out of Towers Pool League race

IT'S down to five teams in the race to be crowned Ballymena Towers Pool League champions.

Sunday, 28th February 2010, 6:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2010, 9:59 am

The Coach have pulled out of the competition, leaving the Premier Division with just five teams.

The demise of the Galgorm Street team comes as something of a surprise, after they had performed exceptionally well in the first half of the season to claim the sixth and final spot in the top division prior to the league 'split'.

All teams who are due to meet Coach will now receive two points.

Meanwhile, Inn-Offs fired a warning to their rivals that they intend to be in the frame at the business end of the season by whitewashing Fairhill Hustlers.

There was a surprise in the Slemish Drive clubrooms where league champions and title favourites Minnesota Eight-Ballers were held to a draw by Social Cobwebs.

Meanwhile, in Division One, Moat Aces have taken over outright leadership after a 4-2 win at Slemish Hotshots.

Knockeden Jokers, who had previously been joint leaders, were held to a draw on their own tables by Rolling Stoners, while the all-Social Club 'derby' saw Inbetweeners gain the bragging rights over their clubmates Social Sports.

The other scheduled game was not played, with Hardly Potters being awarded the two points after opponents Horse and Jockey failed to turn up.

PREMIER DIVISION

Inn-Offs 6, Fairhill Hustlers 0: It perhaps wasn't as easy for Inn-Offs as the scoreline suggests, particularly in the opening stages.

Michael Wilson and Stephen Kyle each had to come from a frame adrift to beat Ritchie Irwin and Robert Graham respectively, while Stewart Frew was also taken to three frames by Bryan Logan.

But that was where Fairhill's resistance ended as they failed to win even a frame in the final three games.

Brett McLaughlin, Dessie Cooper and Gary Neeson were the William Street men's winners, against Justin Kilpatrick, Chris Stockman and George McCullough. MOM – Stephen Kyle.

Social Cobwebs 3, Minnesota Eight-Ballers 3: Cobwebs, who held Inn-Offs to a draw last week proved they can give anyone a game, especially on their own tables.

Neil Marrs gave the Slemish Drive team the lead when he beat Alan Davidson in straight frames but Pat McAnally levelled for Eight-Ballers when he defeated Stephen Holmes by the same margin.

Minnesota looked to have clicked into gear when, firstly, Barry McLarnon came from a frame down to beat Liam Erwin and then Ryan Foster made it 3-1 by beating Darren Magee.

Cobwebs certainly weren't finished, however, as they stormed back to claim a point through wins from Jimmy Knowles and Barry Kernohan, against Sean McAnally and Brian Hannaway. MOM – Barry Kernohan.

DIVISION ONE

Social Sports 2, Social Inbetweeners 4: Inbetweeners raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to 2-0 wins from Gary Ormandy and Colin Penny, who beat Ross Hill and Mark Foster.

By the time the next two games had been completed, however, it was all square as Sports' Richard Campbell and Lee Wright prevailed in three-frame matches against Chris Penny and Fintan Long.

Robert Hargan edged Inbetweeners back in front when he beat Brian Boyd in three frames and captain Derek Donaghy was the hero for Inbetweeners when he came from a frame down to beat Richard Turtle and secure full points for the visitors. MOM – Gary Ormandy.

Slemish Hotshots 2, Moat Aces 4: Moat eventually saw off the stubborn challenge of Slemish to go top of the table.

George Crothers' come-from-behind win over Gary Rodgers gave the Harryville side the lead but that was quickly annulled by Gregory Shaw's straight frames win over Darren Gilmore.

Alan Rainey beat Connor Graham inside two frames to restore Moat's lead but Rodney Fleck restored parity again by coming from a frame down to beat Simon Turner.

Barry Weir gave Aces the lead for a third time by beating Dean Calderwood and this time they didn't let it slip as KD Crabbe wrapped up both points for Aces. MOM – KD Crabbe.

Knockeden Jokers 3, Rolling Stoners 3: Knockeden would surely have expected to beat struggling Jokers but in the end, they were thankful for even a point, having to come from 3-1 down.

Stoners took the lead when Jason Peacock beat Martin Craig, despite losing the first frame, by Garteh Rowe levelled when he beat Archie Simpson 2-1.

Straight frames wins in the next two games for Shane Stirling and Jimmy McKeown – over Raymond Lynn and Jamie Magill respectively – put the Cullybackey side firmly in the driving seat at 3-1 ahead.

Jokers rallied and David Gillespie came from a frame down to beat Rodney Adams and in the vital last game, Andy Burnside delivered a point for Knockeden by beating Ron Robinson in straight frames. MOM- Andy Burnside.

PLAYER OF YEAR

Latest standings in the race for Player of the Year are:

Premier: 13 wins – Ryan Foster, Darren Gibson, Stewart Frew; 12 – Brian Hanna, David Armstrong; 11 – Gary Clarke.

Division One: 14 – Alan Rainey; 11 – Gary Ormandy; 10 – Barry Weir, Jason Peacock.