Sponsorship boost as new snooker season breaks off

A NEW Ballymena and District Snooker League season began last week with the opening round of games in the Charity Shield.

The 10 teams taking part are divided into two groups of five with each team playing the others in the group and the top four from each group advancing to the quarter-final stage.

The league thanks Keith Williams for his offer of sponsorship for the league in the forthcoming season. Keith is a well known figure on the snooker scene and as well as selling snooker tables and cues, he also repairs any damages to the tables used in the various clubs throughout the league.

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In Group A of the Shield, Dunloy United got their season off to a winning start with a hard fought 3-1 win over Keith Williams Minnesota B in Dunloy.

After William Dobbin had beaten Cathoir Cunning in straight frames to cancel out Martin Crawley's walkover win, United edged the remaining two games in the third frame.

Firstly Brendan McTaggart held off Minnesota's David Swann to put the home side ahead and then in the battle of the captains, Dunloy's Michael Crilly prevailed in a deciding frame against Keith Williams.

Dunloy Cowboys also started the season with a 3-1 win at Parochial Lions. However the North Antrim side's job was made easier as Lions only had two players available.

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League chairman Ronnie McCart was defeated in straight frames by the impressive Randal McDonnell and although Richard Russell recorded a similar result against John Joe O'Neill, the Lions' fate was sealed as Aidan McErlaine and Gerard McAuley recorded walkover wins to nudge the Cowboys to the lead of group a on frame difference from their United clubmates.

Parochial Lions 1, Dunloy Cowboys 3: (20] R Russell 2, (50] JJ O'Neill 0 (84-41, 67-25); (70] R McCart 0, (20] R McDonnell 2 (53-112, 58-92); (65] B Goodall scr (70] A McErlaine; (70] D Curran scr (50] G McAuley.

Dunloy United 3, Minnesota B 1: (15] M Crawley w/o (15] A Hutchinson; (35] B McTaggart 2, (15] D Swann 1 (53-62, 86-18, 70-46); (50] C Cunning 0, (30] W Dobbin 2 (44-56, 43-60); (45] M Crilly 2, (45] K Williams 1 (54-29, 39-55, 57-29).

In Group B, Dunloy Galaxy made it a great night for the Dunloy teams with a 4-0 win over reigning Shield holders Fountain Aces.

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None of the players who won the Shield last year were playing for the Aces, who included Sean French and Richard Hayes, signed from the now defunct 147 Rockets.

The young Aces side battled hard and took their opponents to a third frame in three out of the four games. Bobby Darragh, Paul McQuillan and new player Chris Connor each won a deciding frame against Ian Templeton, Richard Hayes and Sean French respectively. Miceal Murphy helped secure maximum points for the Galaxy team with a 2-0 win over James Gourley.

In the Minnesota clubrooms the other Fountain team the Jokers recorded a 3-1 win over the host Strikers.

Last season's player of the year Calvin Brammeld was a comfortable straight frames winner over Niall McElroy and debutant Callum Lindsay pinched the first frame on the black against Trevor Alexander before racing away with the second to put Jokers 2-0 up.

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Stephen Fullerton, making a return to the league, used his experience to fight back for a 2-1 win over Nathan Curtis to bring Strikers back into the contest.

Matthew McFall and David Gould, both making their league debuts, were paired against each other in the last game. Matthew won the first frame on the black but David levelled by taking the second frame and the Fountain player took his chances in the decider to send the Jokers back to Antrim with a 3-1 win.

Minnesota Strikers 1, Fountain Jokers 3: (35] N McElroy 0, (25] C Brammeld 2 (23-57, 19-59); (35] T Alexander 0, (50] C Lindsay 2 (36-50, 38-73); (40] S Fullerton 2, (50] N Curtis 1 (10-62, 53-48, 62-26); (60] M McFall 1, (50] D Gould 2 (57-47, 29-58, 22-69).

Fountain Aces 0, Dunloy Galaxy 4: (60] I Templeton 1, (50] B Darragh 2 (41-18, 34-57, 18-63); (50] J Gourley 0, (30] M Murphy 2 (43-50, 32-91); (40] R Hayes 1, (45] P McQuillan 2 (11-61, 72-33, 48-64); (60] S French 1, (55] C Connor 2 (55-65, 65-35, 32-46).

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