Last night drama is nothing new in Frank Hughes Bookmakers East Tyrone League and the trend is certainly not changing anytime soon!
But what was different in 2016 is that the scenario was being enacted most in Division Two, longtime leaders Gervins B losing away to bottom-of-the-table Mitchells B and thus opening the door to a horrible devastating sucker-punch overhauling manoeuvre from the defending champions!
The Plater’s Hill team, who lost in the main cup final last year, seemed set for silverware at the start of the night, going in with a potentially decisive two points advantage. But in the Ardcumber clubrooms, the young Gervins quartet found that the league’s normally most hospitable guys restricted that aspect of their hosting to off-table matters.
Early straight frames defeats for Shea Fee and Pearse Kelly by Jonny McCann and Niall Tennyson set the pattern for the night and pretty soon they were fearing the worst as Peter Loughran was also a 2-0 victory against Mal O’Neill, Chris Maye winning without loss to Seamus Mitchell to instill some badly-needed hope into the Coalisland camp.
Alas, their aspirations of securing a title play-off at least were cruelly dismantled by the McVeighs A squad who were clearly determined to have one last throw of the dice by whitewashing McKees B - and away from home, too!
Danny McVeigh won a nailbiting black ball decider against Oliver O’Neill after Kieran Corr had given the away team a winning start on the black in frame two against Marty Doris. And the trend continued when John McArdle edged out Stevie McNulty, Jerome McVeigh completing the heroics by eclipsing James Conway in another decider.
Happy days are back for Pot Black after losing last year’s title in a play-off, a 2-2 draw in McKees enough to crown them Division One champs.
Dermot Loughran beat Colm Kelly 2-1 in first game. Loughran cleared the colours in two visits to pinch the opener, lost the second on the pink after leading most of the way but recovered from an early deficit with a timely run of 29, getting home on the green.
Owen McKee levelled by winning in a decider, against Mickey Quinn. McKee won the first on the pink, despite a 32 break by Quinn, who responded with a last red win in the second. The final frame was nip and tuck until the McKees club boss took it on the blue thanks to a great long pot.
Peter Reilly won the point that ensured the league title for Pot Black with a 2-0 win over Brendan McLarnon. A couple of 20s gave Reilly the first on yellow and he clinched the second on the pink after potting a long straight blue.
Damien McBride earned the home side a draw by coming from behind to inflict his first league defeat on his old St. Patrick’s Hall teammate. Patrick Wallace had breaks of 39 and 56 in winning the opener on blue but McBride settled the second by potting an excellent final pink and won a scrappy decider on ‘salmon’.