SIXTEEN ALLIANCES came under starter’s orders on Sunday week past in the 2012 renewal of the North-West Snooker Pairs Championship, hosted and sponsored by Letterkenny’s North-West Snooker Club.
The first-ever NWIABSA Championship to be staged outside Derry, the ground-breaking event was marked by another significant milestone, courtesy of the host club’s Aidan Devenney, whose break of 104 heralded the maiden century compilation in the 65-year history of the Pairs Championship (inaugurated 1947).
This year’s renewal saw the preliminary and first-round, quarter and semi-finals all played in the same day - another unique happening - with Johnny Connors & Adrian McFadden (CYMS) and Stephen Brady & Shay Norris (Oak Grove) emerging the finalists when the dust had settled on the day’s action.
Among the ‘also-rans’ were Davy Clifford & Maurice Ferguson, whose title defence never got off the ground (dethroned in their opening match), while Seamus Cusack & Gerald McCloskey, the favourites in the ante-post betting, suffered the same fate.
RESULTS - Preliminary-round - Johnny Connors & Adrian McFadden beat Shantallow’s Harry Logan & Simon Cooke 2-1, while Aidan Devenney & Christopher Duffy beat Letterkenny compatriots Gareth Kirwan & Anthony McGill (CYMS) 2-0.
First-Round - Aidan Devenney and Christopher Duffy’s 2-0 win over Hugh Brady & Joe Sims (Shantallow) was illuminated by Devenney’s record-bursting 104 century break.
Oak Grove’s Kevin McKinney & Donal Murphy, friendless in the ante-post market, sprung a surprise when they upstaged Shantallow’s strongly fancied Peter Doherty & Keith Shiels in straight frames.
Johnny Connors & Adrian McFadden beat Sean McVeigh & Bernard McGuinness (NWSC) 2-1; Paul Donaghy & Jan Biernat (Claudy) beat Richard Long & Alan Duffy (Glendermott) 2-0; Stephen Brady & Shay Norris beat Pascal McKenna & Peter Logue (Du Pont) 2-0; Phelim McClafferty & Christopher Gibbons (CYMS) beat Joe Porter & Cyril Ming (Shantallow) 2-0.
Quarter-Finals - The first sightings of Glendermott’s Davy Clifford & Maurice Ferguson (defenders) and AOH Club’s Seamus Cusack & Gerald McCloskey (ante-post ‘jollies’) proved brief as both pairs were shown the exit door, albeit against opposition of similar stature. The cricketers lost 2-0 to Paul Donaghey & Jan Biernat, while the Hibs duo were beaten 2-1 by Johnny Connors & Adrian McFadden.
Stephen Brady & Shay Norris claimed the notable scalps of Phelim McClafferty & Christopher Gibbons, whose hopes of replicating their 2004 conquest evaporated with a 2-0 defeat.
Kevin McKinney & Donal Murphy progressed to the penultimate stage when a 2-1 victory over Aidan Devenney & Christopher Duffy was initiated by a black ball verdict in the opening frame.
Semi-Finals - Connors & McFadden defeated Donaghy & Biernat (2-0), while Brady & Norris ended the spirited run of McKinney & Murphy (2-1), the highlight being Brady’s timely break of 49 in the shoot-out frame.
Date for final still to be announced.