Patrick Wallace has often been the saviour for his team in the East Tyrone League, but the former professional couldn’t quite pull off another Houdini act when Pot Black played the defending champions in a league title shoot-out at the Mitchells Club.
For the second year in succession, there was a play-off required to determine the champions. For the second year in a row, it’s Max Keady A who have won the title. And, just as last year, there was even a sudden death frame required to bring about a result after the scheduled four head-to-head games failed to produce a winner.
Here’s how the drama unfolded in the hospitable and well-appointed Mitchells venue, where League Cup winners Pot Black tried to succeed where Mitchells A had failed twelve months ago.
Mark Nugent, possibly the quickest player in the league, put the first point on the board for Max with a whirlwind 2-0 victory over Dermot Loughran. Nugent won both frames comfortably, with a 65 break in the second.
Patrick Wallace levelled things up at 1-1 by beating Sean Hoey 2-0. Wallace recovered from 46 behind in the first with a 46 break and went on to win it by clearing yellow to pink. Having enjoyed a fortuitous run of the ball throughout, he added the second with a break of 56.
Barry Hughes then restored Max’s lead with another straight frames win, over Mickey Quinn. Hughes had a couple of 30 breaks in the opener in winning it easily but had to come from behind in the second, needing a snooker on the yellow before Quinn suffered an unlucky in-off and clearing from green to black to pinch it.
Peter Reilly came back well to beat Richie Comiskey after losing the first frame comfortably.
Reilly won the second on the colours thanks to a 46 break, and produced a brilliant clearance from the green to steal the decider on the black to set up a single frame shoot-out.
The play-off frame turned out to be a one-sided affair. Hughes never allowed Wallace to recover from missing a point-blank range black off the spot in the early stages, and ran out a comfortable 68-3 winner.