Hustlers show their muscle

FAIRHILL Magpies produced one of the biggest upsets of the Ballymena Towers League season last week.

The Ahoghill side whitewashed Michelin Masters to throw a major spanner in the Ballymena side's title bid.

And in another potentially crucial result, defending champions Minnesota Eight-Ballers emerged victorious from a major examination of The Inn-Offs, winning 4-2.

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In a shortened DIvision One programme - which saw Rolling Stoners and Knockeden Jokers on bye weeks - Slemish Hotshots kept alive their faint hopes of glory with a win at Horse and Jockey, while Hardly Potters leap-frogged Social Sports by beating their opponents.

The Social Inbetweeners v Moat Aces match was postponed because of Ballymena United's Irish Cup quarter-final being played at the Showgrounds.

PREMIER DIVISION

Fairhill Hustlers 6, Michelin Masters 0: This was a stunning result for Fairhill, but a disastrous one for Michelin, whose season is beginning to show shades of last season, where they mounted a strong title challenge, only to fade away in the closing weeks.

Ritchie Irwin set Hustlers on their way with a 2-1 win over David Armstrong and the lead was doubled when Robert Graham came from a frame down to beat Alan Armstrong.

Three frames were also required for Chris Stockman to beat Brian Hanna and George McCullough wrapped up the points with a win against Rick McMaster, again by a 2-1 scoreline.

With Michelin down and out, Fairhill took full advantage with straight frames wins for Justin Kilpatrick and Alan Henry, over Donald Alexander and Harry Eagleson, to complete a remarkable whitewash.

MOM - Justin Kilpatrick.

The Inn-Offs 2, Minnesota Eight-Ballers 4: Minnesota could scarcely have had a better week, with Michelin's defeat and this victory over another of the expected title challengers Inn-Offs.

They had to come from behind to do it, after Stephen Kyle had given Inn-Offs the lead, coming from a frame adrift to beat Gary Clarke.

Eight-Ballers levelled through Pat McAnally, who defeated Michael Rowan in three frames.

The defending champions then sealed a point with wins from Barry McLarnon and Ryan Foster, although they were both taken the three frames distance by Brett McLaughlin and Dessie Cooper.

In the fifth game, Brian Hannaway secured both points for Minnesota with a 2-1 win over Gary Neeson, making Stewart Frew's straight frames win over Alan Davidson mere consolation for the William Street men.

MOM - Barry McLarnon.

DIVISION ONE

Horse and Jockey 2, Slemish Hotshots 4: Once again, Horse and Jockey's inability to field a full complement of players cost them the chance of a point from this game.

Damian Keenan fired Hotshots into the lead by beating Ricky McNeill, but back came Horse and Jockey through Philip Houston to level the scores.

The next two games were won by Slemish, both by 2-0 scorelines, their winners being Gary Rodgers and Gregory Shaw, who beat Gary Hillis and Rodney Barnes to ensure at least a point would be going back to Broughshane.

Mark Gillespie reduced the arrears for the Bryan Street side when he beat Dean Calderwood in straight frames but in the final game, a walkover win for Chris Adams wrapped up victory for Hotshots as the home side only had five players.

MOM - Damian Keenan.

Hardly Potters 5, Social Sports 1: Potters got off to a winning start when Martin Ward defeated Ross Hill 2-1 after losing the first frame and they doubled their lead when Johnny Walker beat Richard Turtle by a 2-1 scoreline.

Lee Wright pulled one back for Sports when he beat Ian Mulvenna in three frames but Alan Smyth defeated Richard Campbell in straight frames to restore the two game advantage.

The two points were wrapped up by Amy Lynn when she beat Brian Boyd 2-1 and Chris McGuaghan rubbed salt in Social’s wounds by beating May Barr in the final game.

MOM - Amy Lynn.

PREMIER DIVISION

PWDLPts

M’sota Eight-Ballers42206

Fairhill Hustlers42115

The Inn-Offs42115

Social Cobwebs31204

Michelin Masters41123

DIVISION ONE

PWDLPts

Moat Aces1665517

Social Inbetweeners1663715

Knockeden Jokers1655615

Slemish Hotshots1737713

Hardly Potters17431011

Rolling Stoners1634910

Social Sports17341010

Horse and Jockey1723127

PLAYER OF YEAR

Latest Player of the Year standings are:

Premier: 15 wins - Ryan Foster; 14 - Stewart Frew; 13 - David Armstrong, Darren Gibson; 12 - Gary Clarke, Brian Hannaway, Brian Hanna, Robert Graham.

Division One: 15 - Alan Rainey; 12 - Gary Ormandy; 11 - Barry Weir, Damian Keenan, Jason Peacock.

DINNER DATE

Tickets for the league dinner, which will be held on Friday, May 7, will go on sale shortly, priced at 15.

FIXTURES

Tonight’s (Tuesday) matches are:

Premier Division: Michelin Masters v Social Cobwebs; Minnesota Eight-Ballers v Fairhill Hustlers.

First Division: Slemish Hotshots v Social Inbetweeners; Social Sports v Moat Aces; Knockeden Jokers v Hardly Potters; Horse and Jockey v Rolling Stoners.