This Tuesday night (14TH October) sees the start of the 2014/15 Tennents Coleraine Pool League season.
There are 15 teams who have entered the league this year, with the committee deciding to split them into a six team Division 1 and a nine team Division 2 in order to keep the leagues as competitive as possible.
In addition, this season sees the return of the ‘best of 3 frame’ format after a couple of seasons of one frame, multi session matches.
Each match will now consist of four singles matches and two Scotch Doubles. Any match ending in a 3-3 draw will proceed to a best of three frame play off, with the winning team getting the two points.
Teams can now complete a match using only four players, but may use their full squad of six in any one match if they wish to do so.
Last year’s Division 1 champions Potters A retain most of their squad and remain under the leadership of Marc Hutchinson, and will be hoping to retain their title.
However, their most obvious challenge comes from the Sperrin, who have undoubtedly strengthened with the return of Tommy Morrow to the fold.
It looks a straight fight between these on paper, but other division 1 teams will be looking to muscle in on the title picture.
The Forge Bar spent a long time in the title picture last year, only to fade away at the end. They will need talisman Lee Hull to be on top form on a regular basis if they are to mount any sort of challenge this year again.
The Railway Arms produced some good results last year and proved they can match any of the top teams on their night but again, they will need the likes of Raymond Baxter to produce top form consistently if they are to make any impact on the division.
The division is made up by Bulls Eye and Potters B, two teams with quality in their ranks but may well lack the consistency throughout the season. However, they will still be looking to take points off the top teams when they can.
Division 2 looks a very tough one to call, with no stand out team on paper. After a few years’ absence, Mary Craigs have two representatives from what has always been a great pool venue.
The Roost have been rooted to the foot of the table in recent years but this year’s squad, and in particular the signing of Gavin McClements, could see them mixing it at the other end of the table.
The Social Club, under David Shirlow, could be genuine contenders provided they get their best players there every week and Mary Pats still have a good squad despite Martin McNeill’s move to the Forge.
Potters also have two teams in this league and will, no doubt, be used to bring some new, young blood into the league and these ‘young’ teams from the snooker club have proven to be contenders in the past in this division.
All in all, this could be one of the most competitive divisions the league has seen for a number of years.
Opening fixtures (7.30pm start)
Potters A vs Potters B
Railway Arms vs Sperrin
Forge Bar vs Bulls Eye
Village Tavern vs Mary Pats
Mary Craigs B vs Mary Craigs A
Bulls Eye Old Boys vs Roost
Potters All Stars vs Social Club
Seagull’s Potters vs Bye
Please note – Scorecards to be returned to Potters Snooker Club by 8pm on Wednesday night following the match. Match reports to be included.