It's not quite the halfway stage of the Newry Pool League but there's no time like the present to see who is going to be in the shake-up for the prizes come the end of the season.
The new 3 tier structure sees a premier div for the 1st time along with a div1 & div2.
Here's how each team is doing & who the major players are in each team - starting with div2.
TJ's D sit Top of the Christmas tree with a youthful side who sit 2pts clear on 16pts but with a game extra played on all but 1 of the title contenders. The Hill St side are full of super potters & in Jason Lennon have one of the best players in the division. Taylor, Cartmill & McNally have been crucial high scorers as TJ's seek title honours. TJ's have 8 league wins from 10 & also knocked premier side Magees out of the cup.
Boyds bar sit joint 2nd 2pts behind TJ's with a game in hand with 6 wins & 2 draws from 9 games. Boyds team is packed with experience and in Richard & Kris Fletcher have two of the best players in div2 who have regularly contested the latter stages of the old div1 individuals. But it is the emergence of young Jamie Fletcher that has turned Boyds into title contenders. Hunt & O'Brien have been in good form & crucial to Costa Del Boyds title dream.
McGuigans C are joint on 14pts with Boyds having played an extra game - 6 wins from 10 & 2 draws. The Monaghan St side are flying high thanks largely to the scintillating form of Ronan O'Reilly & Liam Bradley who have been almost unbeatable. With those two, Cinnamond, Haughey & Noel Bradley McGuigans will surely look forward to a fruitful spring.
McSwiggans Bar are primed to strike 1 point further back on 13pts. 5 wins & 3 draws from 9 is a healthy return. In Mo Ruddy they have a gem of a player who can't stop winning. Denise Leonard & Martin Reavey provide great back-up for Ruddy and the Trevor Hill outfit are strong contenders.
Granvue Hotel in 5th don't just provide a sea view but also a decent pool team. 5pts off top spot with a game in hand their a team in progress. The Omeath side have 5 wins & a draw from 9 games. P.Bruen, P.McCourt & D.Heaney have been most consistent & will need more help from team mates to contest for honours.
St.Monninas in 6th place are 6pts adrift of top with 4 wins & 2 draws. The Sth Armagh side are relying heavily on P.Donnelly & Paddy Hughes for wins. The Mackins have been chipping in with wins but it's not going to be anywhere near good enough for promotion.
Foresters have an identical record to St. Monnina. 4 wins & 2 draws from 9 won't be a good enough average for promotion. Paul Campbell has been in sensational form all season but unfortunately his wins aren't enough to push Forresters into contention. O'Hagan, Loughran, Bell & Cronin need more consistency if they are to push for promotion.
8th place for Glenn Social Club is shockingly bad for a team that has had incredible cups runs last season beating some current premier div teams & a div1 team this season. 3 wins & 3 draws from 9 just isn't good enough. Gerard Bagnall has been a star player for Glenn along with the reliable Raymie Sands. Murtagh & Morgan have played well but time for the team to improve their league form.
9th place Trainors bar picked up 5 of their 8pts in November. 3 wins & 2 draws from 9 won't win any prizes. Lukie Phelan & Charlie Doherty provide experience but Finnegan & O'Callaghan will need to score heavy if the Camloch side are to move up the table.
Armagh/Down bar occupy a disappointing 10th place with 7pts. 3 wins & 1 draw is poor but in Barney McGuinness have a super player in form. The signing of sharp shooter Shane Durnin will definitely bring better results. McCoy, McGuigan, Andrews & Hanna have been doing well in patches but more is needed of them.
11th spot is Cavern Reds & luckily for them they have Sean McCullagh playing out of his skin or they may not have the 2 wins & 2 draws from 9 that keeps them away from the foot of the table. Cavern had a stunning win over Bears B in the cup but Byrne, Finnegan & Magee will need more help if they are to push on.
Joint 12th (bottom) spot goes to Maddens bar & Moores bar.
Newly formed Maddens bar have really struggled in the 1st half of the season with a paltry 2 draws from 9 games. Thomas Ingle has been their one ray of light in a miserable campaign. Lennon & Walsh have proved they can win games but they need to step it up a bit with their team mates or the dreaded wooden spoon could be theirs.
Moores B will be glad to see a bit of company at the bottom after last years struggle. 2 draws from 10 games is a bit disheartening but James Larkin & Amanda Pentony are showing signs that better days could be ahead. The Treanors & mcAteer with the rest of the team need to hit the practice table or the battle Royal with Maddens will go right to the wire.
More to follow.