Only 8 teams remain in both the Vegas and Cunningham Cup after another weekend of top quality pool. There was a few shocks but mainly the top sides eased into the 2nd round of the Cunningham Cup.
Premier Division sides CWC A, Hustlers and Dan's A all comfortably kept their unbeaten start to the season when they booked their 2nd round spot with a cumulative scoreline of 23-4. Whitecross are another of the fancied Premier Division sides and they crushed Madden's 7-1.
Orchard Bar showed the gulf in class when they followed their 8-1 Vegas Cup destruction of Foresters with another 8-1 demolition job on Glen Social Club to keep their unbeaten start in tact.
Ballyholland kept their 100% record with a hard fought 6-3 victory over St. Monnina.
The 5 Premier Division sides left in both cups were joined by Nan's Rams who had a good 6-3 win over Armagh/Down. The Ram's had beat Foresters last week and will be delighted with their start to the season.
CWC B joined their A team of in booking their place in round 2 of both cups with a 7-2 win of a Foresters B team that look a bit off the pace so far this season.
Windmill Bar look the real deal after only 2 games. A Vegas Cup win over Premier Division Trainor's Bar Camlough was followed with a 9-0 annihilation of Bosco.
Not everyone is celebrating a great start to the season. McSwiggan's Bar got hammered 8-1 in their opening fixture at home to Sheepbridge in the Vegas Cup. McGuigan's B hosted their Newry rivals in Thursday night's Cunningham Cup and the battle of the Mac's saw the Monaghan Street side heap more misery on McSwiggan's when they thrashed them 7-2.
Madden's Bar have won only 4 frames in their opening 2 matches. A 6-3 defeat then an 8-1 thumping must have new signing Declan McConville wondering what he's let himself in for.
Foresters B are a new side and two 7-2 hammering's might be a sign of things to come this season. Nan's then CWC B were 2 tricky assignments to kick off the season but hopefully they can regroup and put the defeats behind them.
Bears were wwll beat in both the Cups and two 6-3 defeats doesnt bode well for the season ahead. Trainor's A of Canal Street was bad but Hustlers didn't have to hit top gear to win this Premier Division Cunningham Cup clash despite trailing 2-0.
Anthony Morgan and Ralph Crummy took the opener against Kevin Magee and Philip Murphy.
Hustlers welcomed back the stylish Mary Cunningham who partnered Micky Cunningham and all was looking rosy until an unlucky in-off handed the initiative to Garry Powell and Neil Heaney. The Bears duo finished well for 2-0.
Barry Murphy and the returning Damian Kearney were too good for Seamus Keenan and Paul Murphy and Bears were stopped in their tracks for 2-1.
The singles games saw the Bears go into meltdown. Cathal McCoy levelled then Billy O'Neill and Shane McAllister gave Hustlers a commanding 4-2 lead. Adrian 'Oz' Holman, Eddie (not so steady) Heaney and Seamus Keenan unable to stop a rampant Hustlers.
Damien 'Diddles' McArdle was the Hustlers hero for the 2nd week in a row with another top drawer finish over Garry Powell to seal a 5-2 win.
Ciaran O'Neill lost out to Anthony Morgan for 5-3 but Kevin Magee took his singles tally to 2 out of 2 with a good performance over Mick Flanagan for a comfortable 6-3 victory for Hustlers.
Nan's Rams were in an exciting contest with Armagh/Down. Stephen Sherry and the well travelled Andrew Chan took the first in a quality frame against John and Gerard Magee.
It was 2-0 When Mark Pentony and Leigh McAlinden beat Brendan McCabe and a superb Willie Andrews.
Step up James Clarke. Clarke is improving every season and he dragged Armagh/Down back into the contest. Clarke and Declan Magee toppled Seamus Morgan and stunning potter Pat McClenaghan for 2-1. James Clarke was back in for the 1st singles match. The silky Clarke drew the teams level with a good display against the useful Mark Maguire. 2-2.
Pat McClenaghan and Mal Maguire restored Nan's two frame advantage solid frames over John Rogers and then Shane McVerry for 4-2.
Leigh McAlinden and Willie Andrews was arguably the match up of the game. Two top quality players and it was Andrews that took the plaudits to make it 4-3 and the game was back on a knife edge.
Rony O'Reilly is a very attack minded player and the Nan's ace should enjoy the rule change. He is a better potter than the tactical John Magee and it was no surprise when big Rony booked Nan's into round 2 of the Cunningham Cup at 5-3.
Jimmy O'Hare added the icing to the cake when he beat Brendan McCabe to make it 6-3.
TJ's B led 2-0 but trailing 3-2 after 5 frames looked like they might miss the boat against a talented Millvale side.
TJ's hosted the match and Niall Rice with Gary Cowan gave TJ's B the early advantage.
Connor Heaney and Anthony Rafferty doubled the lead as the home team enjoyed the Pairs matches.
Killian McDonald and Tommy O'Hanlon look a lethal partnership and they made it 2-1.
Paul Rowland and Tommy O'Hanlon put Millvale in the lead for the first time at 3-2.
Colly McCann came up against a crafty John McMurray and it was 3-3 after McMurray out thought McCann.
Connor Heaney beat a talented Gary Gibney to make it 4-3 to TJ's B.
Gary Cowan impressed in a pressure frame to get TJ's B across the finish line with a frame to spare. He beat a super skillful Killian McDonald and that was Millvales' Goose cooked.
Anthony Rafferty beat Benny Hoey in the dead rubber game in the 9th to leave a final score of TJ's B 6-3 Millvale.
Could all teams remember to put full names on the team sheets please if you want a write-up in the blog. Also remember to put break finishes or 6 or 7 ball clearances on the team sheet because our reporter's are unable to attend all the matches.
The league cues off this Thursdsay and all eyes will be on the 4 fancied sides in the Premier Division as they 'face off'.
Whitecross will host the in-form Dan's A who have been in scintillating form.
League Champions CWC A take on Hustlers in the game of the night and both teams are unbeaten and in terrific form going into this one.
This could be a massive weekend and its only the first of the league!
We are Only 2 league games into the Premier Division season and no team has their 100% record. Orchard and Dan's A cancelled each other out while Ballyholland got smashed by league champions CWC A.
Sheepbridge, Nan's Rams and St. Monnina all have 2 wins from 2 league games in Division 1.
Cavern and McSwiggan's are the only 2 teams in Division 2 with 100% league wins.
In the biggest game Thursday night Dan's A welcomed Orchard Bar to Bessbrook in a clash that would tell us a bit more about Dans' potential title challenge.
Dan's got off to a horrible start when Orchard took the first 2 frames. James O'Hagan and a disappointing Niall Connolly succumbing to the super Charlie Broughton and splendid potter Brendan Devlin.
Michael Green put Dan's on the board then old Division 2 individual winner Barney Preece and 2015 overall individual winner Seamus McVerry hit a rich vein of form to put Dan's 3-2 up. A talented PJ McDaniel, Nigel Malcomson and a plucky David Cromie losing out.
Paddy O'Callaghan has started the season well but Mervyn Kernaghan is steady as a rock and the Orchard proprietor squared the match at 3-3.
Niall O'Hagan is a tidy player and he put Dan's back in the driving seat when he beat Scott Miller for 4-3.
Jimmy McVerry kept his place in the Dan's team despite losing last week and he came up against a formidable Richie Crawford. Crawford was favourite for this one and he didn't disappoint when he took a share of the spoils for Orchard.
CWC A inflicted on Ballyholland their first defeat of the season.
Kieran McMahon got his first league win of the season to put it CWC 1 up.
Robbie White is the star of Ballyholland and he equalised for 1-1 when he gave Declan McConville his first CWC defeat..
Stephen Rooney and Harvey Lavelle made it 3-1.
Brendan Keenan beat Bernie Magee and Ballyholland could dream of a major shock at 3-2 down.
Pat Brady made it 4-2 and then Paddy Tavey claimed their first league win at 5-2. Seamus McGeoghegan got his season up and running when he made it 6-2
Hustlers went joint top of the Premier Division after they comfortably beat Bears for the 2nd time this season. Bears already took a beating in the Cunningham Cup from Hustlers and their Horrendous start to the season continued.
Damien Kearney will be happy with his start though he played an average game to beat Anthony Morgan who is struggling for form so far this season. 1-0 Hustlers
Barry Murphy has been good so far while opponent Garry Powell was having a bit of a 'mare'. Quality comes through eventually and Powell tied the match for 1-1.
Mary Cunningham is the new Hustlers signing this season and she is living the dream so far. Cunningham defeated Adrian 'Oz' Holman to give the Bellinis based side a 2-1 lead.
Cathal McCoy can't buy a frame lately and it was the Baby faced Assassin Neil Heaney who inflicted yet another defeat on the Hustlers ace for 2-2.
The match was evenly poised and next up was the deadly Damien 'Diddles' McArdle. He's been potting them from the lampshades and was at it again to beat Seamus the snail Keenan for 3-2 Hustlers.
Ciaran O'Neill put the visitors 4-2 up when he defeated an Eddie Heaney who has the same amount of wins as Crystal Palace have league goals - which is zero.
Shane McAllister was never in trouble against Michael Fitzpatrick and the Hustlers ace wrapped up the win.
Kevin Magee is in the form of his life and and a talented Paddy Heaney stood little chance of stopping a soul destroying 6-2 scoreline.
Whitecross are approaching crisis point and we're only 4 games into the season. Michael Feenan has taken over the helm and his only win so far is against the current bottom club in all 3 Divisions - Maddan's Bar.
On Thursday Whitecross took on Trainor's Bar in Camlough who themselves were just off the back of a 7-1 hammering.
Feenan made a plethora of mistakes but probably his biggest was playing himself first against Tommy Mooney. Barney Preece destroyed Feenan last week and Mooney wasn't much more charitable as the Camlough cueiest got his side off to comfortable 1 nil start.
The pressure waa now on Brian O'Neill who rarely, if ever plays 2nd. Declan Finnegan is far too good a potter and he made it 2-0.
Cathal Phelan verses Niall McVerry was going to be decided on who got the kinder balls off the break. Phelan's dreadful start to the season continued when McVerry cleared to put Trainor's 3-0 up.
Shane Phelan would have fancied himself to beat Noel Bradley all day long but it was one of those nights as 'The Cross' fell 4 zip down.
Liam Bradley bagged the brace of points when he beat Gareth McCann for 5-0.
At long last one of the hero's for Whitecross last year - Noel Donaldson finally got the visitors on the scoreboard. David Doran maybe not taking it as serious since the points were in the bag.
Lukie Phelan piled the pressure on Feenan when he beat the legendary Martin O'Callaghan. O'Callaghan was Whitecross' top scorer last season and it is a mystery why he played 7th. One can only imagine he arrived late or this was yet another terrible team selection.
Ex-Captain Gavin Malone must have a wry smile as he wonders where it's all going so wrong since he stepped down. Malone made it 6-2 when he beat Francie Kearns.
Whitecross have CWC A next in the league as the pressure mounts for the country sheep herders and especially new captain Michael Feenan. The 2 Phelan's have been dragged down to their standards and will surely be wishing they were on the opposite side of the team sheet next week.
Don't forget the Individuals sheets are out Monday night from 8pm in Bellinis we hope to have a large turnout for Individuals as we have a large prize of £400 cash for this years winner.
Division 2 Blog
Cavern Bar lead the way in Division 2 of the Newry and District Pool League. We might only be 2 league games into the season and no doubt sterner tests lie ahead but the Church Street bar looks well equipped for a title challenge.
Trainor's B of Canal Street are a new team into the league and are a very welcome addition but the truth is - points are going to be hard come by. They are going to need to dig in and make teams earn every frame the hard way.
DC Campbell got the opener beating Natalie Treanor to put home side Cavern in the lead.
Darren Rowntree levelled the match when he beat Damon Murphy - 1-1.
Mathew Cregan, Stephen Byrne and Joe Byrne hit form to make it 4-1 and cruising. Martin Carroll, Tony McGivern and Andy Fu the unlucky Trainor's losers.
Martin 'Rav' Reavey is back in a team capable of winning things. It's good to see him back in the hunt for trophies. He didn't get it all his own way against Bernadette Treanor but it was enough to seal to points for Cavern at 5-1
Darren Laird and Darren Brown took the last 2 just to pile on the misery for Trainor's B. Peter Johnson and Darren Morgan joining the long list of Trainor's casualties.
7-1 is a heavy defeat Trainor's B captain Darren Rowntree has his work cut out this season. Mathew Cregan on the other hand might need to work on his trophy winning speech!
McSwiggan's Bar have started the season surprisingly well. Another 6-2 win this time of a decent Glen Social Club has them joint top with 2 wins from 2 games.
McSwiggan's started in blistering fashion taking the first 3 frames. Johnny Irwin, Henry McLaughlin and captain Gary Cregan showed the early practice games worked for them. James Cookson, Caolan Lonergan and Jay Kelly caught on the hop for Glen.
Paddy Morgan beat Joe Finnegan to pull a frame back for Glen but McSwiggan's weren't perturbed.
Drew Connolly beat Kevin Sands for 4-1 and the home fans in the City Centre didnt have long to wait before the 2pts were in the bag. Callum Murphy beat Mark Keenan and then Ryan Lennon made it 6-1 when he ousted Liam Turley.
Glen captain Gerard Bagnall needs to take a long hard look at himself playing last on the team sheet. That was a terrible decision. The young Glen star put a slightly more respectable look to the scoreline when he beat Joe McAteer to make it 6-2 McSwiggan's.
Foresters C got their first points on the board after a shaky start against stablemates Nifty Fifty's.
Brendan Flannagan took the opener against Ciaron Collins for 1-0 Nifty Fifty's.
Things got doubley worse for Foresters C when David O'Brien got dumped by Mark Flemming for 2-0.
Martin O'Brien got Foresters on the score sheet before Stevie Quinn levelled at the half-way mark.
Pat Hughes gave Foresters C a 3-2 lead and Barney O'Connor potted superbly to put his side on the verge of their first 2 points of the season.
That privilege went to Caolan O'Connor when he hammered Noel Larkin to make it a convincing 5-2 scoreline.
Margaret Ireland couldn't prevent a 6-2 route as Pete Smyth hammered in the final nail.
This was a good win for Foresters C and now they can push on with confidence. Nifty Fifty need to hit the practise table if the are to Nifty Shifty up the table.
Madden's Bar are a familiar sight at the foot of the table but this side has the players to compete this season even if they haven't shown it yet.
Brendan 'Totts' Curran and Declan Cunningham are well capable holding their own with anyone in this division. They need to be an inspiration to their team mates but so far they've been poor.
To be fair Armagh/Down are strong and won't be far again when the prizes will be handed out next May or June.
Brendan McCabe and Alex Foley got Monaghan Streets Armagh/Down off to a 2-0 head start when they took out the aforementioned Totts Curran and Declan Cunningham.
James Clarke celebrated his birthday with defeat at the hands Daniel Carroll to make it 2-1.
It was 3-1 Gerard Magee beat a useful Wayne Riley.
Madden's hung in there by taking the 5th frame to reduce the scores to 3-2. Declan O'Callaghan beat Shane McVerry to give Madden's real hope.
John Rogers put the home side on the hill at 4-2 when he beat Cearon Bradley.
John Magee used all his experience to sew up the 2 points and a very talented Willie Andrews made it 6-2. Stephen Pentony and Cormac Duffy cast aside by the relentless Armagh/Down.
Check out the early league tables on our website and lets play pool in the best league in the country.
Hurricane Ophelia caused plenty of destruction, storm Brian threw us a few floods and in between we had a childish rant from Paul Walsh the Newry Reporter Editor.
Here on the blog we won't be wasting time and energy getting into slagging match with a 2nd rate amateur newspaper. We have 1000's of hits on our own website every week, Destination Newry cover all our fixtures, results and our blog give fans ample coverage of one of Newry's most popular sports. And of course Newry's number 1 local newspaper for news and sport The NEWRY DEMOCRAT cover our Pool with professional and enthusiasm which we can all enjoy every week and never any problem with them keep up the good work Newry Democrat.
While it was a stormy week to say the least it was Hustlers that are blowing away their Premier Division opponents.
In Division 1 Nan's Rams sucked Sheepbridge into their raging Tornado and sent them crashing to earth battered and torn in their top of Division 1 title showdown.
A second half whirlwind from CWC B changed swung tide in their top of the table battle against McSwiggan's in Division 2.
Hustlers are one of the in form teams at the minute with the legendary Mickey Cunningham kicking his team into shape every week and ready for battle, having dropped only a single point so far this season and that was to Premier Division Champions CWC A.
Orchard Bar look strong this season and have had some good results so far. Nigel Malcomson and Noel Brown look like good additions to the Orchard squad and have proved already they're no pushover.
Ciaran O'Neill missed the first few league games but he's flying now and one of the best young players in the league put Hustlers in the lead when he beat a Charlie Broughton with 2 league wins already under his belt.
Damien Kearney is a new man this season. He was always a good potter and the new 'No cushion' rule is perfect for him. He was far too good for Nigel Malcomson and Kearney took his new record to 4 wins from 4 league games and 2-0 for Hustlers.
Philip Murphy was cruising and with 2 shots and a black at his mercy he fouled by not potting or hitting a cushion and PJ McDaniel punished to make it 2-1.
Shane McAllister has had mixed fortunes so far and he let Mervyn Kernaghan tie up the match at 2-2.
Damien McArdle is blazing a trail and playing some of the best pool in the Premier Division. New comer Noel Brown just had no answer as 'Diddles' McArdle improved his new record to 4 wins from 4 to give Hustlers a 3-2 advantage.
The visiting Hustlers took a massive frame when Billy O'Neill made it 4-2. Brendy Devlin is a cracking player but O'Neill got the breaks Hustlers ensured the minimum of a point.
Kevin Magee came into this one with 3 wins from 3 but David Cromie loves nothing more than upsetting the odds and a good old battle. Cromie finished well and the game was on a knife edge as Orchard closed the gap to 4-3.
Mary Cunningham was due on last but alas the winless Cathal McCoy stepped in to play the decider against very tricky Lee Irvine. The frame went the full distance and a re-spot was needed. Irvine won the lag and McCoy left the Orchard ace a tricky black. Lee Irvine looked like he was going to be the Orchard hero when he potted the black but when the white dropped in McCoy couldn't believe his luck and took both points back to Bellinis Bar. It was McCoy's first win of the league so it was a good night all round for him.
Result 5-3 Hustlers.
CWC A crushed pointless Bears 7-1 to stay joint top with Hustlers.
Michael Feenan broke and cleared as he inspired Whitecross to their 1st league points of the season. Cathal Phelan, Michael Feenan, Martin O'Callaghan, Noel Donaldson and Shane Phelan put Whitecross 5-0 up. Colm Shields, Robbie White and Niall McQuillan winning the final 3 frames for Ballyholland to make the scoreline a respectable 5-3.
Dan's A fell further behind the leaders after their South Armagh derby game with Trainor's of Camlough.
Tommy Mooney v Barney Preece promised to be the highlight of the match-ups. Two quality players that didn't disappoint. It was Trainor's captain Mooney that finally ended Barney Preece's 100% winning record. It was a gamble moving Preece down the team sheet and it didn't pay off. Mooney lost his 1st league game against Orchard Bar but has now won his last 3.
Michael Green had a good win over the experienced potting machine Declan Finnegan to level at 1-1.
Jimmy McVerry as yet to pick up a league win for Dan's and it was Mickey Nugent that inflicted his 3rd defeat for 2-1 Trainor's.
Niall McVerry picked up his 3rd league win on the trot to make it 3-1 Trainor's when Tony McElroy lost his 3rd game out of the 3 he's played.
Brendan McNally was playing his 1st league game and it showed when potting sensation Seamus McVerry reduced the arrears to 3-2 with his 3rd win of the campaign.
Noel Bradley took his tally to 2 wins from 4 against Niall O'Hagan with some good pool. 4-2 and Trainor's looked to be coasting.
Liam Bradley on his host table was taking on James O'Hagan in one of the best match-ups of the night. Bradley had won all 3 of his league games so far while former individual champion James O'Hagan was 2 wins from 3. It was the Dan's legend O'Hagan that took the frame and end Bradley's 100% record and now it was game on at 4-3 Trainor's.
Mark Trainor v Ryan O'Hare was never going to be a high quality affair and by all accounts thats the way it played out. Both missed chances but it was O'Hare that salvaged a draw for Dan's but even with the point they are now 3 points off the leaders.
In Division 1 Nan's Rams hosted the mouth watering top of the table clash with Sheepbridge. This game promised to be a cracker between to very experienced sides but it turned out to be a damp squib.
Jimmy O'Hare took on natural potter Seanie Markey and it was O'Hare that upset the odds to take the opener for Nan's.
Pat McClenaghan is in unstoppable form of late and he beat Brendan Markey to make it 2 zip.
Dermot Lonergan is a top player and the former Orchard cueist made it 2-1 after his defeat of Seamus Morgan. Game on now surely.
Mark Pentony beat another top Sheepbridge player Ciaran Morgan Senior to make it 3-1.
Malachy Maguire is lethal this season and he made it 4-1 when he stuffed Barry Duffy.
Leigh McAlinden wrapped up the 2 points with little fuss when he made it 5-1. Daniel McCarthy was never going to trouble McAlinden.
Andrew Chan rolled in no.6 and Mark Maguire made it 7-1 as the bowling alley side crumbled like 10 pins hit by 100mph demolition ball. Tom McManus and Gwyn Trainor the last two Sheepbridge victims.
The 'One Year Only' McGuigan's side might be just a lovely long lost Premier Division memory but this seasons McGuigan's B team has more than 1 or 2 familiar faces.
The Division 1 side were taking on Foresters A and a former Premier Division player Martin Conroy has been coaxed out of retirement and looks the business. He took the 1st for McGuigan's B when he beat a talented Kieran Loughran.
Sean Monaghan doubled the lead when he beat Ruairi White.
John Allen beat former McCoys bar players John 'Hogey' Hogan to make it 2-1.
Mike McArdle had a decent season in the Premier last term and a good run to the final night of the Pairs. He will do well in Division 1 and it was he that made it 3-1 McGuigan's by beating a tough Hugh McGrath.
Gerard McGuigan had a really bad time last year in the Premier and he's lost a few in Division 1 but he made it 4-1 by beating Josh McKeown.
It was all over at 5-1 as this very powerful McGuigan's stormed to the tape. Paul McAreavey was a very good Premier player with McGuigan's and he hammered Jimmy Magee for the 2 points.
Austy Gilbraith was drafted into the McGuigan's team sheet but he lost out to a superb Chris McKeown he pulled it back to 5-2.
Damien 'Bud' Flanagan is another Premier star and he will more than hold his own in Division 1. John McClorey had no answer to Bud's superior potting and 6-2 was a result that won't have shocked too many.
Boyds slipped as they had hoped to keep pace with the league leaders.
Ray McMahon put Boyds 1 up but Barry Smith and Stephen Cunningham reversed the scores for 2-1 St. Monnina.
Andrew Mackin made it 3-1 to the Saints but Boyds hit back through JP Lennon for 3-2.
Conor McQuid put Monnina on the hill at 4-2 but Kevin Lennon ensured it would go to the final frame when he made it 4-3.
Paddy Hughes lost his deciding frame dual last week but he was the hero on Thursday night when he took home the brace of points for a 5-3 win.
In Division 2 CWC B trailed against McSwiggan's on home turf and looked to be slipping behind the leaders.
Johnny Irwin put the visitors 1 up by beating Cailim McParland in the process.
Emmett McParland levelled seeing off Joe Finnegan.
Henry McLoughlin and the talented Stephen Wylie fired McSwiggan's 3-1 up. Super players Tommy Rooney and last week's hero Chris Cunningham unable to stop the visitors.
Raymond Sands started the comeback when he beat McSwiggan's captain Gary Cregan for 3-2.
Kieran Cunningham left it a level match at 3-3 when he beat Drew Connolly. Captain Barry Kelland put CWC B in the lead for the first time when he squeezed past Ryan Lennon for 4-3 to the hosts.