Can Hustlers win the 2016/17 Premier Division?
Of course not but lets let them have their moment in the sun. What a start they've had, enjoying 2 wins from 2. They are riding high joint top of the league and they're bursting with confidence.
After stuffing bitter rivals McGuigan's last week they hosted the Bears Thursday night and boy did they have to dig deep to get both points in this classic match. Bears might just have a stronger side than one first imagined but obviously they still have their work cut out to avoid relegation.
Garry Powell and Ralph Crummy are like a fine wine. Not exactly smooth and not bitter , slightly tangy and of course and
improving with age. Crummy is a contender in our fantasy pool league which the whole of Newry is talking about and he put Bears firmly in the driving seat when he made it 2-0. Powell is a good composed potter and he opened the scoring on the night. Barry Murphy lost again in the 1st frame and it was no real surprise John Little lost the 2nd. Trailing 2-0 in bellinis it was time for Hustlers to throw the big man himself on.
Mickey Cunningham can talk the talk and this season he is walking the walk. He has 2 wins from 2 and ace reporter Sean McKevitt couldn't prevent Cunningham from stealing the headlines with a supurb finish to put hustlers back in contention.
Young Ciaran O'Neill is turning into a fine player and he made it 2-2 thanks to a good win over Adrian 'Oz' Holman.
2 experienced campaigners took control of the match.
Shane McAllister has turned into one of the better players in the Newry Pool league. He is playing very welland has 2 from 2 so for this season.
Paul Murphy was his latest victim. Damian 'Diddles' McArdle has had more clubs than a deck of cards and he's settled in quickly with the Hustlers. He may be slightly erratic but McArdle can pot a ball and his win over Neill 'Baby Faced Assassin' Heaney.
That made it 4-2 but Bears hadn't threw in the towel and fought back through Seamus (windows) Keenan.
Keenan took on Billy O'Neill these two being drawn together is every referees worst nightmare. Both players but especially Keenan like to take their time and when everyone woke up it was back to 4-3.
Cathal McCoy would take on Paddy Heaney to see if Bears could split the points.
Heaney looked well in the frame but a nice controlled finish gave McCoy and Hustlers a well earned win. McCoy potted his final 4 yellows and a lovely positional shot left an easy black for a 5-3 Hustlers win. Next week hustlers take on
Tj's A who they thrashed 5/1 in there own battle ground last season/ tj's will be looking to erase that memory of last season.
TJ's Tigers are suffering a bit of a culture shock in their 1st couple of Premier Division games. Their opening game was against free potting TJ's A. No shame in losing in losing that one but the manner of defeat in their 2nd game is cause for concern.
Thursday night the Tigers travelled out to Orchard Bar are returned home kittens. Orchard have a decent side this year and their 1st players on the team sheet are well capable of beating anyone. Karl McGuinness is a top player and with Joe Poucher his back, we can expect Orchard to lead 2-0 more often than not this season. And that's how it turned out. Richie Taylor and Niall O'Hare just not good enough on the night for TJ's Tigers.
Jason Lennon was virtually untouchable in Div 1 last season and would have fancied his chances against Charlie Broughton. Broughton has been around long enough to know how to beat an out and out potter. He slowed the game and made it 3-0.
Brendan Devlin beat Adrian Annett to make it 4-0 and the writing was on the wall for TJ's kittens. Gavin McNally is a good all rounder but he won't have played many cueiests quite like Mervyn Kernaghan. Mervyn is a terrific tactician and can take out a tough finish and the tactician wrapped up the points for 5-0.
Diamuird Lonergan and Lee Irvine are 2 players you don't want to be playing if your in a hurry home. Most of their opponents can't wait to hear the 20mins buzzer go off so the talented Nicky Irwin and Sean Rice wouldn't be used to players like that and it really was no surprise when Orchard increased their lead to 7-0.
Unknown Caolan Morgan was up last to attempt the whitewash but Matty Cartmill salvaged a very small sĺice of pride back for TJ's Tigers and at least they took a frame home. 7-1 is a horrendous result for TJ's Tigers whereas Orchard are going to be a handful for every team they play against.
The big game of the night saw pretenders to the Premier Division crown CWC A travel out to a very decent Carrickcruppen in a mouthwatering tie that didn't dissapoint.
Paddy O'Callaghan will have felt he was fed to the lions when he was ruthlessly first on the team sheet and up to play
Kieran McMahon. By all accounts O'Callaghan gave McMahon a real fright but nonetheless McMahon came out on top to give CWC the lead.
In typical Cathal Phelan style he wore Tommy Lavelle down and eventually made it 2-0 CWC.
Harvey Lavelle v Jamie Lavelle was the match-up of the night and Jamie is proving to be a top player by beating last year's Pairs winner Harvey to pull it back to 2-1. Jamie played some quality pool and it was game on.
Kieran Hanna was one of the most loved players Thursday night as he gained 4pts for everyone who picked him in their Fantasy Pool Team. Hanna broke and he needed a few very good pots to complete a brilliant break finish to square up the match. Shane Phelan will be cursing his luck as the scrap for places in CWC team is brutal. Hanna is the 1st fantasy pool player to get a break finish and only the 2nd player in all 3 Divisions to get that perfect frame.
Paul 'Bunty' O'Callaghan is the only other player to complete a break finish so far and although he didn't repeat this feat on Thursday he was still in fine form to make it 3-2 CWC beating a negative Martin McVeigh.
Pat Brady was just far too good for Barry McAllister and it was 4-2.
Ciaran Hanna jnr made it a very happy spin home for the Hanna
boys and daddy sang the whole way home (Theres life in the old dog yet ) Paddy Tavey can be hit and miss and a mistake let Hanna jnr in to make it 4-3 and CWC were getting nervous. One player that doesn't seem to suffer from nerves is Tucker Hughes. He bailed out on Hustlers in their hour of need but he is looking like a shrewd signing for CWC. Stephen Lavelle is a good potter but he's the last player you want to be playing Tucker Hughes. Hughes will drag you into the trenches and torture you. Tucker dismantled poor Stephen Lavelle bit by bit and eventually Hughes took his CWC A over the winning line for a good 5-3 win.
TJ's A suffered a surprise opening frame defeat when Terry McNally beat new TJ's captain Laurence McAlinden. McGuigan's look a poor side this season but McNally could by a ray of light for them.
Despite dropping the opener TJ's kicked into gear and Raymond McKenna, Declan McMahon, Manny Byrne, Eugene McDermott, Tristan Byrne and sub Stevie Noade propelled TJ's to another routine win.
Bryan McGill, Brian Campbell, Paul McAreavey, Mike McArdle, Terry Rice and Dusty O'Hagan hammered into submission.
Former captain Declan 'Dodi' McConville has been very quiet on and off the table this season. The TJ's double quadruple winner has yet to get off the mark this season as he tries to cope with not being the centre of attention. Damien Flanagan is a decent player not to be took lightly and the McGuigan's stalwart won the final frame to make it 6-2 TJ's A.
Jack Courtney was absent as he was soaking up the sun. We in the blog would like to congratulate him on his marriage to the beautiful Danielle. We hope you enjoy your honeymoon have a happy life together.
Also well done to another TJ's A player Stevie Teggart who represented N.Ireland in the home Nations in Scotland. Teggart won the deciding frame to put his Irish side into the final were they lost out to England. Stevie had a brilliant tournament so well done to him.
Killeavy got their season up and running thanks largely to a last gasp win for Alan McManus to claim both points against Sheepbridge.
Darren O'Hanlon is one of the new breed of all out attacking young players and he beat one of the most experienced players in the Newry Pool league. Conor Quinn is still of force to be reckoned with and there's few players love their pool as much as him. Young O'Hanlon was too hot on the night and Killeavy were 1-0 up.
Sean Og Duffy doubled the lead beating namesake Barry Duffy.
Gwyn Trainor and Seanie Markey are 2 quality players and the levelled the scores at the halfway point. Stephen Murphy and Mark Shevlin the defeated duo.
Tom Maganiss v Pat Kearns would have been a classic 40 years ago but Maganiss still has it and put Killeavy 3-2 up. Stevie Cunningham beat ex-Glenn player Raymie Sands to put Killeavy on the hill 4-2.
Paddy McCann couldn't prevent the visiting Mark from pulling it back to 4-3.
It was Alan McManus who stole the headlines to make it 5-3 and give Killeavy their 1st brace of points.