Park Plaza Reports and Results

The NIPA staged a fantastic weekend of Blackball Pool at the superb Park Plaza Hotel at Belfast International Airport last weekend. Our event, supported by Antrim Borough Council, was opened by NIPA Chairman, Cliff Wilson, who welcomed the Southern Irish contingent from the SIPF up to Antrim. The 12 Championship quality tables installed by Baizecraft were of exceptional standard to compliment the venue. We kicked off on the Friday night with the NIPA beating their Southern opponents 51-48 in a very keenly contested International Friendly match. The next day and after some high tension filled matches, it was our own Neil McKelvey from Larne who lifted the title of NIPA/SIPF All Ireland Blackball Champion 2009. McKelvey was in stunning form as he thrashed Ballymena's Gary Clarke 6-0 in an all Northern Semi Final. Con Price had to dig very deep to come from 5-2 down against his fellow Southern Irishman David Poole, to win 6-5 and set up an intriguing Final. But Con couldn't live with McKelvey who hardly missed a ball in the Final for another 6-0 demolition, to lift the trophy and winners prize of £1000. And although Mckelvey reached the Final of our Northern Ireland Individual on day 3, he just couldn't get over the line for what would have been an incredible double. Instead it was the excellent Rab Fee from Antrim who came from 2-0 down in the Final to seal a 5-4 win with a classy break and dish in the deciding frame. But a double of sorts was achieved over the weekend as in our Northern Ireland Ladies Individual, Claire Stewart lifted the crown with a 5-2 Final win over Bangors Kim Dockery. Claire just happens to be Rab Fees partner so both trophies will be heading back to their Antrim home. We would like to give a big thank you to the SIPF, the Park Plaza Hotel, Antrim Borough Council and especially to our 2 tournament Directors, Trevor Harte and Sean Anderson without whom , this event would not have been the success it was. Thanks also go to Antrims Mark Allen, World Number 16 Snooker Star for making a guest appearance in both Individual Competitions.

Many thanks go to all our Table Sponsors
Aldergrove Taxis - A1 Taxi - Moes Grill - Agnew Recovery Services - Maddens Bar - R&R Accountancy - White 'O' Morn Fishing Shop - Gourleys Factory Furniture - City Air Express - Houston Thornton - Brian Slater Roofing - Ulster Unionist Party - Ballymena United Social Club - Mr Chips - Progressive Unionist Party - Regency Press - Fountain Snooker Club - A.McLeans Bookmakers

Pictured above is Willie Lucas presenting the Winners with their trophies. Left -Neil McKelvey, Middle - Rab Fee, and Right - Claire Stewart.

Before the main event, the Northern Ireland Special Needs Team had a coaching session for some of the Blackball rules, as this year in the World Championships all the Specials teams will be playing the full Blackball rules. Also, the NIPA 'A' team played their B1 counterparts in a friendly with the 'A's running out 20-13 winners.

Friday 27th February
Scores (NIPA first). 'A' Teams 16-17, B1 Teams 21-12, B2 Teams 14-19. Overall result. NIPA 51-48 SIPF
Saturday 28th February
IRISH BLACKBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS (85 entries, 1st round double eliminator)
Last 16 Mark Allen 2-5 Gary Clarke, Steven Johnstone 5-4 Brian Crilly, Bill McIlroy Jr 3-5 Darren Sterrett, Derek Hall 2-5 Neil McKelvey, Dave Costello 3-5 Con Price, Colin Moore 4-5 Ryan McQuillan, David Poole 5-1 Ady Toner, Paul Haughton 2-5 Rab Fee
Last 8 Gary Clarke 5-2 Steven Johnstone, Darren Sterrett 1-5 Neil McKelvey, Con Price 5-0 Ryan McQuillan, David Poole 5-4 Rab Fee
Last 4 Gary Clarke 0-6 Neil McKelvey, Con Price 6-5 David Poole
Final Neil McKelvey (Northern Ireland) 6-0 Con Price (Southern Ireland)
Sunday 1st March
Last 16 Conor Byrne 4-3 Jason Heffron, Rab Butler 2-4 Colin Moore, Neil McKelvey 4-1 David Riddle, Bill McIlroy Jr 3-4 Brian Crilly, Rab Fee 4-1 Steven Johnstone, Tom McCorry 3-4 Ryan Foster, Ed McDowell 4-2 Paul Roberts, Bill McIlroy Sr 1-4 Steeky Carson
Last 8 Conor Byrne 4-2 Colin Moore, Neil McKelvey 4-2 Brian Crilly, Rab Fee 4-3 Ryan Foster, Ed McDowell 2-4 Steeky Carson
Last 4 Conor Byrne 0-5 Neil McKelvey, Rab Fee 5-2 Steven Carson
Final Rab Fee 5-4 Neil McKelvey
Last 8 Lynsey Gardner 3-4 Sally Caughey, Kim Dockery 4-3 Debbie Murphy, Karen McCormack 2-4 Pamela Hamilton, Claire Stewart 4-1 Lazarra Blair
Last 4 Sally Caughey 0-5 Kim Dockery, Pamela Hamilton 0-5 Claire Stewart
Final Claire Stewart 5-2 Kim Dockery

2 splendid Hampers were balloted and these were won by Paddy Murphy from Dublin and Irvine Halliday from Newtownards