Fountain overflowing with title successes

THE final round of league matches in the Ballymena and District snooker league resulted in celebrations for the Fountain snooker club with Fountain Aces taking the Division One title and Fountain Jokers making it a double for the Antrim club by winning the Division Two title.

The battle for the first division crown had tilted towards Fountain Aces as the season neared its end and reached its conclusion in the Antrim clubrooms as the host Aces squared off against Minnesota A - the only team who could deprive Liam Kelly's team of the league title.

Aces required only a point from the game to win the league whereas Minnesota A needed all four points available to retain the league trophy.

David McClintock struck first for the Ballymena side defeating Leonard Clewer in straight frames but despite a great effort from the rest of the Minnesota side Aidan Bradley, Nigel Clewer and Liam Kelly all won third frame deciders to give Fountain victory and maintain their unbeaten record in the 12 league matches they played during the season.

The Minnesota A loss in Antrim allowed Rafters Runners to overtake the Ballymena side and finish second in the league following their 3-1 victory over Dunloy Galaxy.

Hugh Ward put the Ballymoney side in front with a 2-0 win over Bobby Darragh and Dylan Murray won a 3rd frame decider against Michael McPoland to increase Runners' lead.

Miceal Murphy overcame Stefan Christie in three frames to put Galaxy on the scoreboard but Sean Gray used his experience and aided by a 41 break emerged victorious in a third frame against Paul McQuillan.

In Dunloy, Minnesota Strikers recorded their first away win of the season with a 3-1 victory over hosts Dunloy United.

Trevor Alexander beat Michael Crilly and Dean Greer was victorious in a close third frame to give the Strikers a 2-0 lead. Martin Crawley showing the form he is capable of swept aside Rodney Dunlop in straight frames to bring United back into the contest but Colin Perry secured the win for the Strikers defeating Paul Kelly by a 2-0 scoreline.

Dunloy United also drew 2-2 with Minnesota B in a rearranged game. The result enabled the Minnesota B team to finish in fourth place in their first season back in league snooker just behind the Minnesota A team.

In Division Two, the Rafters clubrooms played host to the conclusion of the race for the championship trophy as leaders Fountain Jokers visited Rafters Aces and second placed Rafters Potters entertained Parochial Lions.

Potters, requiring to gain two points more than the Jokers from their last game, began well with Ryan O'Doherty and Lee Gibson accounting for Billy Goodall and Dennis Curran in straight frames.

When Paddy McCook and Mark Heggarty each won the opening frame of their matches with Richard Russell and Rodney McAleese respectively, Potters appeared on course to gain maximum points and keep the pressure on the Jokers who were keeping an eye on the Potters match from nearby tables.

Unfortunately for the Ballymoney men the experienced Parochial Lions duo hit back strongly and defeated the Potters pair in deciding frames to force a 2-2 draw for Ronnie McCart's side.

Fountain Jokers knew that before play began that a win would be good enough to win the Division they duly achieved the result they were looking for in spite of some spirited resistance from Rafters Aces.

Jokers' young star Calvin Brammeld eased past Jimmy Davidson in the third frame to put the first point on the scoreboard for the Antrim side and when captain Joe Bingham emerged from his match with Billy Moore with a similar 2-1 scoreline the Jokers had one hand on the trophy.

Darrell Brammeld's 2-0 win over Peter Hunter meant that although Jokers Nathan Curtis lost to Aces Kevin Clark in the final match the three points gained were good enough to give them the title.

Indeed like their Fountain clubmates had done in Division One, the Jokers had gone through their league season undefeated although they were pushed all the way by a good Rafters Potters team making a welcome return to the Ballymena and District snooker league this season.

Parochial Hawks' hopes of overtaking the top two in the final league game of the season suffered a crucial setback when they could only field three players for the visit of Rafters Hotshots.

Pat McNally and Paul Casey both won for the Hawks with captain Danny McGarry being edged out of a third point for the Hawks on a black ball decider against Sammy Shirley. Andrew McAlonan's walkover win gave the Hotshots a share of the spoils.

DIVISION ONE

Fountain Aces 3, Minnesota A 1: [55] A Bradley 2, [15] R McFall 1 (48-63, 81-57, 83-37); [45] L Clewer 0, [15] D McClintock 2 (61-92, 55-61); [30] N Clewer 2, [25] M Thompson 1 (24-65, 51-18, 72-8); [20] L Kelly 2, [15] B Hannaway 1 (22-69, 54-36, 70-24). Breaks - Rodney McFall 40, Nigel Clewer 38.

Dunloy Galaxy 1, Rafters Runners 3: [65] B Darragh 0, [35] H Ward 2 (45-79, 60-78); [65] M McPoland 1, [15] D Murray 2 (51-92, 85-81, 56-88); [40] M Murphy 2, [40] S Christie 1 (33-58, 60-34, 63-33); [60] P McQuillan 1, [10] S Gray 2 (82-52, 71-98, 76-85). Break - Sean Gray 41.

Dunloy United 1, Minnesota Strikers 3: [55] M Crilly 0, [40] T Alexander 2 (48-69, 42-70); [45] B McTaggart 1, [45] D Greer 2 (61-33, 20-54, 43-54 ); [25] M Crawley 2, [60] R Dunlop 0 (81-55, 97-37); [65] P Kelly 0, [65] C Perry 2 (24-45, 26-45). Breaks - Martin Crawley 29, 49; Trevor Alexander 32.

Dunloy United 2, Minnesota B 2: [65] P Kelly 2, [15] A Hutchinson 1 (100-8, 80-91, 107-80); [25] M Crawley 1, [35] W Dobbin 2 (59-41, 27-56, 63-70); [55] C Cunning 0, [20] D Swann 2 (63-71, 44-73); [55] M Crilly 2, [30] J Millar 0 (62-61, 68-45).

DIVISION TWO

Rafters Aces 1, Fountain Jokers 3: [55] J Davidson 1, [45] C Brammeld 2 (30-75, 55-43, 27-63); [45] B Moore 1, [50] J Bingham 2 (58-35, 76-83, 21-72); [50] P Hunter 0, [60] D Brammeld 2 (56-59, 12-52); [55] K Clark 2, [65] N Curtis 0 (58-45, 60-41).

Rafters Potters 2, Parochial Lions 2: [45] R O’Doherty 2, [75] B Goodall 0 (66-56, 82-51); [35] L Gibson 2, [75] D Curran 0 (78-52, 74-63); [55] P McCook 1, [25] R Russell 2 (60-24, 43-73, 33-80); [50] M Heggarty 1, [35] R McAleese 2 (72-46, 24-66, 39-69).

Parochial Hawks 2, Rafters Potters 2: [55] D McGarry 1, [60] S Shirley 2 (50-37, 17-68, 43-48); [60] P McNally 2, [60] R Maxwell 1 (36-51, 83-22, 68-48); [45] P Casey 2, [60] C Hargin 0 (74-72, 68-41); [50] N McElroy scr [50] A McAlonan.

DIVISION ONE TABLE

PWDLPts

Fountain Aces1266031

Rafters Runners1263327

Minnesota A1252525

Minnesota B1245325

Minnesota Strikers1244423

Dunloy Galaxy1217421

Dunloy United1205716