Broughshane Playing Fields Association ‘A’ will hold the leadership of the Ballymena & District League going into the new year.
While the end of November may seem like an unusually early climax to the first half of the Division One campaign, it has been brought about by the fact there are only six teams in the top flight.
However, the second and third divisions will continue with another round of fixtures this coming week.
Any Division One team not involved in next week’s League Cup quarter-final first legs won’t throw a bowl in anger until January 11.
Before then, BPFA ‘A’ have the small matter of a League Cup clash with Michelin next week and the Knockan Road warmed up for that showdown by maintaining their leadership of the league by taking four points from their meeting with BIBC, who had been their co-leaders at the start of the evening.
It was all square at the interval with Tommy Hill’s ‘BI’ rink edging out Ivan Craig by a single shot, while Alan Cahoon’s home rink beat Stephen Shields by the same slender margin, in a remarkable game which produced 29 shots - an average of almost three shots per end.
But it was in the second half that Broughshane moved into overdrive with wins for the rinks skipped by William Morrison and Alistair McCullough taking the game out of BIBC’s reach.
Michelin recovered from their rare setback at BI in their last outing by taking four points from their potentially tricky trip to Golf Club.
Both teams had one rink in the ascendency in the first half and at this stage of the contest the home team led by 3 shots but two second half victories saw the Woodside Road team claim a 6 shot victory.
Mark McCullough’s Michelin rink finished strongly to defeat namesake David by three shots but Sean McGarry’s Raceview quartet produced an impressive display to defeat Wesley Caldwell 12-6.
In the second half, a count of three shots on the final end wasn’t enough to prevent Johnny Lynn’s Golf rink from going down 10-6 to Graham Wilson while Matthew Boyd’s rink delivered the telling blow in their 10-5 win over Kevin McGarry with an all-important ‘5’ on the penultimate end.
Standings: BPFA ‘A’, played 5, points 17; Michelin 5-16.5; BIBC 5-14; Golf Club 5-11.5; Old Bleach 4-5.5; JTI 4-5.5.
Broughshane were the big movers in the second division as they hauled their way back into the promotion race by taking full points from their trip to First Ballymena.
Wins from George Davidson and Adi Davison gave the Knockan Road outfit a healthy advantage at the break and the visitors didn’t let up in the second half with wins from William Esler and James Wasson completing a very welcome ‘full house’ for Broughshane, whose form has been patchy so far this year.
Portglenone Community Centre have been the stand-out team in the second division so far and they recorded their fifth win from six games with a win at Glenravel, albeit dropping two points along the way.
Both sides had two winning rinks but the Martinstown side’s successful rinks, skipped by Martin McKeegan and Martin O’Neill, couldn’t emulate the clear-cut winning margins of the Bannsiders’ winning rinks, led by Chris Jones and Roy Hunter but Glenravel did have the consolation of their two-point haul lifting them off the foot of the table.
Golf Seniors remain tucked neatly in third place after leapfrogging Harryville by beating them in the Raceview clubrooms.
Gary Worthington’s foursome had given Harryville a great start by beating Brian Russell, but all the Casement Street side could add to that tally was half a point from Willard Reid’s 9-9 tie with John Nichols.
Meanwhile, Ivan McMaster and Donald Smyth were leading their Golf rinks to wins which helped the home side to a 15-shot win overall.
Antrim IBC added to Services ‘A’s struggles as they took four points from their meeting, thanks to rink wins from Darren McCullough, Robert McCullough and Tom Evans. Pauline Wilson notched Services’ lone response.
All Saints stay second after taking three-and-a-half points from their home game against Maine, thanks to wins from Eugene McReynolds and Anthony Mitchell, while Nicholas Mitchell and John Heffron split a point in a 7-7 stalemate. Laurence McQuillan added the Randalstown side’s other point.
Eaton Park matched All Saints’ points tally in a narrow three shots win over Services ‘B’. Yet the rugby club side could easily have had all five points with John Simms earning a win and Greta Coulter a half-point against Noel Crabbe on the last ends of their games. Gary Shaw and John Carruthers also won for Eaton Park.