Ballymena & District club fanciers look back on top year

Officials and prize winners at the Ballymena & Dist HPS dinner in Tullyglass Hotel.
Officials and prize winners at the Ballymena & Dist HPS dinner in Tullyglass Hotel.

Ballymena & District HPS had another good turn-out of members and friends to celebrate the recent racing season at the annual dinner.

Chairman of the club Tom McAlonan welcomed everyone and said he was pleased to see visitors attending from Cullybackey, Harryville, Broughshane and Rasharkin & District in the form of special guests Jackie Steele & Ricky McNeill.

Membership of the Ballymena club is growing every season, racing is very competitive, and top awards were collected by a number of the local lofts.

Last year Mr & Mrs Sempey lifted the Highest Prize-winner award for the first time and another good effort racing to lofts at Ballykeel with 9 x 1sts saw them retain the famous Harper Cup. As last year they were just ahead of the ever consistent Billy & Joe Smyth who were tops in 2012. The club were to win the Mid Antrim Combine YB Points Shield for the second time in three seasons, Mr & Mrs Sempey topped Combine & Sect in the Rosscarbery Yearling Cock Nat, Blair & Rankin topped the Combine & Sect in the erratic race from Clonmel and then in the opening race of the young bird season from Mullingar topped the NIPA winning 1st Open on velocity 1241 with 2,355 birds competing.

McFall & McManus had a best season since re-joining the club and had a top result in the Fermoy 5 Bird Championship winning 1st MAC, 2nd Sect & 2nd Open NIPA 425/1935. MDC Magill scored the big result from Penzance and were to win the Meritorious Award from Sect B with best Individual Bird performance Talbenny & Penzance.

Martin Graham had two early birds on the second morning from St Malo in France and just missed out on the NIPA 2 Bird Average, McAlonan Bros were next best, and just over 100 birds made home lofts in race time.

The club pay-out was just short of £880 which included £100 in the Show Special Nom, Elke & Martin Sempey won the £50 in Rosscarbery while MDC Magill had the £50 from Penzance. The leading lofts to the table were – Mr & Mrs Sempey, W & J Smyth, McFall & McManus, Blair & Rankin, Connolly & Purvis, Martin Graham, MDC Magill, Denis Craig, McAlonan Bros, Brian O’Rawe, G & A Eagleson, and J McNaghten & Son. The prize cards were presented by Tracy Burns and Glen Gilpen. The top four lofts will represent Ballymena & District in the 2015 MAC Champions League.

Members were thanked for their help and support over the season including James Harris who looks after the races each week and ETS, we had another very successful show season and the New Year’s Day Show was held in our own clubrooms for the second time will capacity entry.

The AGM for Ballymena & District will take place in the Fountain Place clubrooms on Monday 9th February at 8pm. Resolutions for the agenda must be with the Secretary Willie Reynolds by Saturday 31st January.