Paddy Clarke is officially the best Pool Player in the Newry and District Pool League after one of the highest quality finals Newry has ever seen.
The final was a clash of an unstoppable force when it met an immovable object. Pat Brady v Paddy Clarke. Arguably the best two players in the league and definitely two of the best the league has ever seen.
The final turned out to be an absolute cracker. Pat Brady got in 1st but when he tried to hang a red only to see it drop, Brady was left in 'No man's land'. Clarke was in and took out a stunning 7 yellow clearance (including a terrific final ball cut into a blind pocket) and a cut black to the middle to go 1 up.
Pat Brady is made of stern stuff and he decided he needed to fight fire with fire. It was Brady's break and after some great positional shots the CWC A captain rifled in 7 reds and left himself a simple Black which he duly rolled home for 1-1. Game on.
The 3rd frame saw Clarke take out a truly world class finish. Brady had tried to cover Clarke's red ball at the bottom pocket but the adrenaline got the better of him and the yellow bounced clear. Clarke cleared but it took a cracking flick off Brady's yellow to come up for the black. Clarke almost snookered himself but alas with an inch to spare he rolled home the black for 2-1.
Clarke played a lose safety in the 4th frame and left Pat Brady the chance of a snooker. Big Pat under hit his shot and left a gap for Clarke to roll in a stunning long long yellow but a poor positional shot left Clarke high on his 2nd last ball. He rolled that one home but his 1st missed pot of the final - a near impossible slice let Brady in to clear for 2-2.
Pat Brady was on for another brilliant 8 ball clearance but a tough final yellow was missed to the middle and the chance of the lead slipped through his fingers. Clarke got 2 shots and made no mistake clearing his 5 reds and an easy black for 3-2.
Paddy Clarke swerved out of a really good Brady snooker to hit his red but was very unfortunate to watch the white ball follow on through and down the middle pocket. With 2 shots Pat Brady made a difficult 5 yellow finish look easy and left himself an unmissable black to take us into a decider.
Paddy Clarke was in 1st in the 7th and final frame and looked on course to take out another monster finish. Clarke over screwed his last yellow and was now in big trouble. He tried to Nick the pocket to hold for his last ball but the TJ's pocket just wasn't for taking it and Clarke jawed his penultimate yellow. Brady was in but a foul gave Clarke the chance he needed and he made no mistake 2nd time round to claim his 1st ever Newry Singles title.
Paddy Clarke was in devastating form as he cruised his semi-final 3-0. Shane McAllister had a few half chances but Clarke was taking no prisoners as he blasted his way to the final in under 15mins.
The other semi-final wasn't quite as clear cut when Pat Brady and good friend plus team mate Harvey Lavelle were involved in another classic. It was 2-2 and the winner of the next frame would meet Paddy Clarke in the final. Lavelle was in 1st and he decided to go for the glory. He left himself double which he thought he could flick off Brady's ball and into the middle but wasn't even close and that left Big Pat to mop up a terrific clearance for a titanic 3-2 win.
There wasn't many shocks on the night but easily the biggest was Stevie Teggart bowing out 2-1 in the opening match to Robbie Loughran. The CWC A ace hit a marvellous break finish in the middle frame but Loughran who plays for new side Nifty Fifty used all his experience and craft to win the two scrappy frames and squeeze into the last 8.
Loughran was shown the exit door by Harvey Lavelle in the 1/4 final but he made the attacking Lavelle work extremely hard for the win.
Harvey had earlier beaten Bernie Magee 2-0 in the last 16.
We tipped John Hogan of McGuigan's to beat higher league opposition Mervyn Kernaghan. Kernaghan from Orchard bar has hit a dip in form right bang in the middle of the business end of the season. Hoggy Hogan eased through 2-0 but he found Pat Brady to hot to handle when he got dumped 2-0 in the next round.
Brady had no problems in the round of 16 when he hammered old pal Conor McQuaid 2-0.
Shane McAllister had a brilliant run to the semi-final and his good night began with a super win over team mate Cathal McCoy. He followed that up with one of the performances of the night to beat Paddy Tavey 2-1. Tavey missed a half chance in the decider but McAlister made no mistake to go through to the semis.
Paddy Tavey played well in the last 16 when he smashed Darren Devlin 2-0.
Tommy Mooney got blitzed by Paddy Clarke 2-0 in the last 8 but Mooney had produced a surprise result when he beat Kieran McMahon 2-0. McMahon played an open game and Mooney mopped from McMahon to edge two close frames.
Paddy Clarke had earlier received a bye after South Armagh player Noel Donaldson got lost on the way to the venue.
In the end the night belonged to Paddy Clarke. He only missed one pot in the final. He ran out of position a few times complaining about the white ball but luckily for him his potting was outrageous.
It was said on more than one occasion that this could well have been the highest quality final the Newry Pool League has ever seen. Pat Brady played his part in a pulsating, exceptionally high standard final.
Paddy Clarke was supposed to have said that this was a life time dream come true.
Paddy Clarke talks the talk and now he's walked the walk. He's raised the bar and with Newry Pool League and when Blackball rules are in play for the new season 2018/19 to Newry Pool League who's to say he won't nail back to back titles!