Hustlers hold title fate in their hands

FAIRHILL Hustlers will have a major bearing on the destination of the Ballymena Towers Pool League title this week.

The Ahoghill side have to play both of the two sides - Minnesota Eight-Ballers and The Inn-Offs - who can win the title, ahead of the league's annual dinner and prize presentation this Friday evening.

The Fairhill v Eight-Ballers game was postponed last week due to several of Minnesota's players competing in England. It was due to be played last night (Monday).

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Fairhill also have to complete their outstanding game against Inn-Offs which was abandoned last month when storms resulted in a loss of electricity at the Ahoghill venue, with Inn-Offs leading 3-1, and the match will resume from that point.

Elsewhere, Social Cobwebs drew level on 14 points with Inn-Offs but have completed all their fixtures, as have Michelin Masters, while in Division One, Social Inbetweeners beat Knockeden Jokers in a play-off to claim runners-up spot behind Moat Aces.

PREMIER DIVISION

Minnesota Eight-Ballers 3, The Inn-Offs 3: The crunch clash between the two title contenders failed to produce a positive outcome as the points were shared.

Sota drew first blood when Pat McAnally beat Stewart Frew but Inn-Offs stormed back to win the next three games through Michael Wilson, Michael Rowan and Brett McLaughlin, who beat Barry McLarnon, Brian Hannaway and Alan Davidson.

But the champions showed their mettle as Gary Clarke beat Dessie Cooper to keep the tie alive and Ryan Foster played a real captain's role to earn his side a point in his game against Gary Neeson.

Having completed an eight-ball clearance in the first frame from his own break, Ryan then cleared the table again in the second frame after Neeson had broke off in what turned out to be the Inn-Offs player's only shot of the night. MOM - Ryan Foster.

Michelin Masters 4, Fairhill Hustlers 2: Michelin rattled off the first four frames - all by 2-0 scorelines - to determine the destination of the points.

Winners in those games were Darren Gibson, Ricky McMaster - who had an eight ball clearance - Alan Armstrong and David Armstrong, who beat George McCullough, Robert Graham, Chris Stockman and Bryan Logan.

Fairhill salvaged some respectability by winning the final two games, firstly when Ritchie Irwin came from a frame down to beat Harry Eagleson and then Justin Kilpatrick beat Brian Hanna in straight frames. MOM - Ricky McMaster.

Social Cobwebs 5, Michelin Masters 1: Cobwebs secured an excellent third place finish with this win.

Darren Magee got the Slemish Drive side off to a good start by beating Rick McMaster and Neil Marrs doubled the advantage, beating David Armstrong 2-1 after losing the first frame.

Michelin replied with a come-from-behind win for Brian Hanna against Stephen Holmes but Cobwebs made it 3-1 in similar circumstances through Barry Kernohan, after his opponent Alan Armstrong had taken the opening frame.

Jimmy Knowles' win over Harry Eagleson put Cobwebs out of sight and a walkover win for Liam Erwin completed the scoring. MOM - Neil Marrs.

Standings: Minnesota Eight-Ballers, played 9, points 15; Inn-Offs 9-14; Social Cobwebs 10-14; Michelin Masters 10-7; Fairhill Hustlers 8-6.

DIVISION ONE

Knockeden Jokers 2, Social Inbetweeners 4: Inbetweeners claimed runners-up spot after this play-off win.

It was nip-and-tuck after the first four games with wins for Jokers’ Martin Craig and Raymond Lynn - against Barry Johnston and Fintan Long - were cancelled out by Social successes for Chris Penny and Gary Ormandy, at the expense of Gareth Rowe and David Gillespie.

Inbetweeners nudegd ahead when Robert Hargan beat Carl Bruce and skipper Derek Dunlop sealed the glory for Inbetweeners when he came from a frame down to beat Jamie Magill. MOM - Chris Penny.