This wasn't just a Christmas stuffing. This wasn't a turkey roasting. This was a brutal slaying. There's putting down a marker and then there's a Pre-Christmas massacre.
CWC A trailed league leaders Trainor's A by 3 points going into this crucial encounter. The current Champions have looked vulnerable this season, while the pretenders to the crown look irresistible.
Last week CWC needed to win the final 3 frames to scrape over the line 5-3 against the Bears that beat them earlier in the season. Trainor's had no such drama when they hammered Orchard Bar 8-0 in their last outing.
This game was set up beautifully. A win for Trainor's would put them 5 clear and one hand on their 1st ever top flight trophy. A win for CWC would smash the title race wide open.
Seamus McGeoghegan got the nod to lead the line for CWC in a massive shake up in formation from captain Pat Brady. McGeoghegan is having a poor season and while his Trainor's opponent Eddie McCaughey has missed large parts of the season, his potential is clear. He is a deadly potter it wasn't a huge surprise McCaughey took the opener for his 4th league win. It's one Brady most likely decided to take on the chin and move on from a 0-1 deficit.
Well if the bear was sleeping Trainor's well and truly poked it.
Trainor's captain Niall McVerry looked set to fire his South Armagh side 2-0 up but he inexplicably missed a routine black after potting 7 reds. It was the whack that woke the bear as the slick Paddy Clarke cleared sensationally to level the match. Clarke just oozes class and with the table at his mercy he has no equal in the Newry And District Pool League. Clarke notched his 8th win from 10 played.
Kieran McMahon was given a scare by former team mate Paddy Tavey but the CWC machine marched on for 2-1 and Trainor's looked shell shock as cracks in their title bid began to appear. McMahon now has 9 wins from 11.
Super potter Seamus Murray lost to the blogs biggest No1 fan Terry McNally for 3-1.
The legendry Harvey Lavelle former individuals champion James O'Hagan was the deal breaker. Trainor's needed a win from one of their star players to stem the tide. Lavelle was absolutley brilliant taking out a stunning finish as O'Hagan crumbled and it was 4-1. Lavelle improved his personal tally to 7 from 9. It was O'Hagan's 4th defeat in 5 games and surely questions will be asked about Captain Niall McVerry's selection process.
Pat Brady has masterminded success in the local pool scene which cannot be equalled. He's dominated Newry pool for nearly two decades. He's mopped up everything there was on offer in South Armagh pool and he's now collecting trophies regularly in the Dundalk league. If you were getting paid to polish Pat Brady's trophies you would certainly earn your money. His Trainor's opponent Jimmy McVerry was always a shot away from a catastrophe and when he potted the white 'Big Pat' cruised to the winning post for 5-1. Brady has won his last 7 in a row and has 9 from 11.
Niall McVerry took a massive gamble playing two of his best players as his last two on the card. If he or Paddy Tavey had won then it might have been a masterstroke but the fact remains it didn't work and two of his reliable foot soldiers were only introduced when the war was over. Raymond McKenna was still too good in the dead rubber game with former individual winner McVerry.
6-1 down and Liam Bradley gets the nod. He's been in superb form this season. With only 1 defeat and 6 victories Bradley was hot favourite. Bernie Magee has been pretty awful and I'm sure he'll be the 1st to admit that himself. Losing 3 of his last 4 and losing 5 before Thursday night is not great for winning trophies. Bradley finally ended the rot and got another frame on the board for Trainors.
It was too little, too late for Trainors. CWC had shown their class and ripped Trainor's apart winning 6 frames on the spin.
Can Trainor's recover from this hammer blow? There is the massive 'elephant in the room' about Niall McVerry's team selections. There's more than Dee Kearney unhappy with the way the team is being picked. Can McVerry hold his team together? Maybe the Christmas break has at the perfect time. They can reflect on a good 1st half of the season and come back refreshed and ready to challenge for the title.
CWC A are still a point behind Trainor's but what a result that was for the City side. They will be one team itching to get back on the baize after the festive break.
What a 2019 we have to look forward to!
Bears remain the only team to beat last seasons quadruple winners CWC A but have struggled for wins ever since. Orchard Bar travelled into Town fully expecting to export 2 points back out the Rathfriland Road and make sure of their 3rd place in the league.
They got the shock of their lives when they got slapped from pillar to post by a Bears side that at long last showed their bite in the Premier Division again.
Neil Heaney and Diamuird Lonergan struck to put Bears 2-0 up. They very impressive Jamie Fletcher and sharp shooter Gerard Bagnall losing out for Orchard. It was an inexperienced front two for Orchard but their steady heads were soon to visit the table.
Darren Devlin has been there and done it and he pulled it back to 2-1 when he beat Garry Powell for his 5th win in 7 games.
Tony McGovern has been in amazing form this season since ditching the hanger on McGuinness with 8 wins. But he met Eugene McDermott in inspirational mood and it was the Bears old head that won to make it 3-1.
Seamus Keenan and Liam Turley could hardly differ in styles. The 'Snail' Keenan is a master at slowing the game down and grinding opponents to a pulp. Turley is a fire cracker whizzing in shots from everywhere and anywhere. He is exciting to watch but exciting doesn't always get the job done and it was Keenan that made it 4-1 Bears. It was only Turley's 8th defeat in 9 games so it could be worse!
Orchard were down and soon to be out. Ralph Crummy is one of the most likeable players on the local pool circuit but he's ruthless on the baize when he's on form. Brendan Devlin is a fine player in his own right but it just wasn't their night as Crummy took the points for 5-1.
Eddie Heaney took his foot off the gas and let David Cromie put some respectability on the scoreline for 5-2. Incredibly Cromie has won all 6 league games he's played.
Adrian Holman probably was thinking he would be tucked up in his bed in about 20mins time when Mervyn Kernaghan pipped him to finish the scoring 5-3 Bears. Kernaghan has won 3 of his last 4 and back to form after a dreadful start to the season for him.
Hustlers took the final two frames of the night to salvage a hard earned draw against McGuigan's Bar.
Billy O'Neill and Kevin Magee had the home side Hustlers 2-0 up before McGuigan's hit 4 on the spin.
The superb Martin Conroy, John Hogan, Pat Byrne and Damien Flanagan enjoyed success and McGuigan's looked favourite for the points at 4-2.
Ray Magee pulled it back to 4-3 and Barry Murphy would play Paul McAreavey for the points.
Both are good solid players with similar styles. Both decent potters when on form but lack of practice leaves both players prone to silly mistakes. Murphy is enjoying the better season and got another pressure frame winner on Thursday night for an exciting draw.
The result does little to ease either sides relegation fears but it's all to play for when we return in the new year.
Talking of relegation Nan's Rams will be wondering how they are still only on 2 points for their half-season's work. They have some real quality players and if they get a bit of luck in the new year they can close the gap at the bottom.
Another 5-3 defeat this time against Whitecross means they are the only side yet to pick up a league victory in all 3 Divisions.
Michael Feenan picked up his 9th win from 11 games and captain Shane Phelan chipped in with his 8th to put Whitecross 2 nil up.
Stephen Sherry made it 2-1 before the reliable Alan Burke put 2 between the sides for the 2nd time at 3-1.
Mickey O'Hanlon picked up his 1st win in 5 attempts to double his tally for the season and it was 4-1.
Leigh McAlinden is having a tough season but his 2nd win in his last 2 games could be a turning point for him and it was 4-2.
Whitecross could have been getting nervous but there's no player Whitecross would rather have playing for their points than Cathal Phelan. He's suffering his worst season since he lifted a cue but his 4th win of the season sealed the points for 5-2.
Mal Maguire has been having a nightmare season but his win at the end made it 5-3 and gives him hope going into the new year.