Conor Mallon was the hero for the Vintage Bar as they retained the prestigious Jim McCusker Cup in the Craigavon District Darts League last Thursday night.
Having won the cup last year while playing out of the Premier Bar in their first season together the team, now playing out of the Vintage, had high hopes of reclaiming the trophy that will surely sit beside their soon to be league cup, but they were pushed all they way by the only team to take points off them this season so and last years league champions Drumgor.
The Vintage had little problems getting past their quarter-final opponents Trojans when they whitewashed the Drumgor Tavern based team 5-0 and set up a semi-final clash with the McCusker Cup hosts Eire Og.
Eire Og had a comfortable 5-2 win over the Celtic in their quarter-final with Celtic new boy Noel Greenan impressing with a 19 dart leg in this 701 one leg competition. Drumgor started their march to the final with a hard 5-3 win over the Stables with Cherie Toland of the Stables making her much welcomed competitive debut for the team to become the second lady to play in the league this season.
In the last quarter-final it took a last leg deciding win by Martin Murray Snr to give the INF a 5-4 win over Clann Eireann and set up a clash against the Vintage.
Both semi-finals were intense with little between the teams as expected and it was Drumgor who got the better of the home team Eire Og in the eighth game to record a fine 5-3 win to book their spot in the final.
The second semi-final was just as close and it swung back and forth with the Vintage taking an early 2-0 lead only for the INF to storm back taking the next three games to lead 3-2. But it was the eventual winners who came back fighting winning the final three matches for a 5-3 victory and set up a clash between the current league champions Drumgor and the champions in waiting the Vintage.
The final looked like it was all going one way with the Vintage taking four of the first five games to leave themselves only one win away from the title, but as proved on many occasions the final game is always the hardest to win as Drumgor didn’t go down without a fight taking the next three matches with Pearse Richardson and Clive Hanna claiming impressive wins to level the match at 4-4 with one to play.
The title was now down to a one leg 701 shoot-out between Conor Mallon and Stephen Duff and it was Conor who hit that all important double to claim the Vintage’s first trophy of the season but most probably not their last.