The Republic of Ireland Ladies Snooker Team made up of Margaret O’Driscoll, Annette Newman, Cathy Dunne, Sandra Bryan, Claire Mill and sub Tina Keogh won the Home Nations Championship against Northern Ireland Ladies Team made up of Chucky Preston, Ash Dinsmore, Roisin Smith, Ellie Brogden, Alex Babb and sub Avril Preston in a very exciting and close contest at the RILSA Academy Sharkx Newbridge. Final score 26 to 24 in favour of the Rep of Ire Team.
In the first session of this round robin event consisting of 50 frames played on the day, Chucky Preston (N Ire) got off their team to a good start with a good 2 nil win over Annette Newman (Rep of Ire), Cathy Dunne (Rep of Ire) was in form against Alex Babb (N Ire) to take the two frames to level the playing field, Claire Mill (Rep of Ire) kept the Rep team ahead after winning two black ball frames against Roisin Smith (N Ire). Sandra Bryan (Rep of Ire) and Ash Dinsmore would take a frame each in their match. Margaret O’Driscoll (Rep of Ire) took both frames against Ellie Brogden (N Ire) to see the Rep team take an early lead 7-3
In the second session Sandra won the first against Ellie but Ellie responded well in the second to level at 1-1. Ash took the first against Claire, the second frame went to a black ball with Ash taking it for a 2 nil win. Roisin played well against Cathy to take both frames on the colours to put the score level between the teams at 8-8 at this point, Annette won the first against Alex but Alex came back to level the score to see both teams level once more 9-9. Margaret who is the current Rep of Ire National Champion was up against the current Northern Ireland Champion and both players were up for the challenge, however Margaret got hold of the game and with a 32 break to seal the first and kept it tight in the second to take the two frames and put the Rep team back into the lead by 2 frames going into the 3rd session
The 3rd session saw Roisin take the first frame against Annette but Annette responded well to level their match 1-1. Ash took the first against Cathy however Cathy upped her game and took the second frame to level 1-1, Claire took the first on a black ball against Ellie, with Ellie playing well in the second to level the match 1-1. Chucky played solid snooker against Sandra to take the two frames to once again bring both teams level on points 14-14 however Margaret once again put the Rep back into a 2 frame lead taking both frames against Alex with a break of 38 along the way.
In session 4 Chucky would bring the N Ire team level once more taking both frames against Claire. Ellie took the first against Cathy on a black ball but Cathy responded well in frame two to again level the match and teams once more on a level keel. Annette had a good two frames to nil win over Ash to put the Rep back into a two frame lead while Margaret continued her good form and won both frames against Roisin to increase the lead to 4 frames. Sandra and Alex would share the frames to finish the 4th session Rep of Ire 22 – N Ire 18
It was all down to the 5th and final session to see who would win the event,
Chucky would again close the gap between the teams with a two frame win over Cathy who took frame two to a black ball finish. Ash took the first against Margaret in a good display of snooker but Margaret responded well to take the second to keep the teams tight. Roisin played solid snooker against Sandra to take the two frames and once more see both teams level. Alex took the first against Claire on a black ball to go 1 ahead for the North but Claire won the second to again level the match. Annette upped her game against Ellie taking the first comfortably with Ellie ahead by 28 points going down to the colours, Annette drew on experience and clawed her way back to take the second on a black ball getting the team over the line 26-24 in a very closely contested team Championship.
It was all down to each team player who gave it their all to see through the win for the RILSA team and it was the same for the Northern Ireland team who showed great spirt and composure throughout the event, they can hold their heads high after a great display of snooker and in doing so should be really proud of their team.
Congratulations to the Republic of Ireland Team for their great win over tough opponents, they played as a team should, supporting each other every step of the way. We look forward to this event that will be played in Antrim in 2023.
Thanks to all the players and the subs Tina and Avril. Thanks to Tina who was assistant TD on the day and did a great job and to Joanna for her support.
Thanks to Bernie, Paul and Leon of Sharkx for all their help and support as always.