Ladies suffer surprise defeat in opening game

Bowls.
Bowls.

The ladies’ team were the first of the Ballymena Bowling Club teams in competitive action this year when they made their first appearance of the season last week.

The Ladies were hoping to pick up where they left off last year when they won the Provincial Town Women’s Bowling Association Senior League without losing a game but what a difference a year makes.

The ladies travelled to Portstewart last Wednesday afternoon in their opening encounter and were only able to return home with a single point to show for their endeavours.

Eva Gage, Maree Houston, Sile Garvey and Barbara Cameron were drawn against T O’Neill. The home rink made the early running when they picked up 3 shots over the opening 2 ends but the visitors hit back with a count of 4 shots on the 3rd end. Seven singles were scored over the next few ends and so with 10 ends completed the Ballymena ladies lead by 8 shots to 6.

Portstewart appeared to have gained the upper hand when they picked up counts of 5 and 2 over the next couple of ends however a single on the 13th end and a count of 5 shots on the next end gave the visitors a slender 1 shot lead with 4 ends remaining.

That however was as good as it got for the Braid rink as the Portstewart ladies picked up 4 singles over the remaining ends to claim victory by 17 shots to 14.

Jean Rainey, Andrea McKeown, Linda McCullough and Jennifer Dowds made a good start against B O’Neill when they won the first 3 ends to lead by 5 shots however 4 ends later the rinks were level with the score board reading 7-7. The game changed in favour of the home rink when they won the next 5 ends to open up a 6 shot advantage.

The Ballymena ladies fought back over the next 3 ends to reduce the arrears to a single shot but 3 shots on the 16th end put the Portstewart ladies in charge and with singles exchanged over the remaining 2 ends it left the visitors on the wrong side of a 17-13 score line.

Ballymena ladies could only field 3 players and so Barbara Burnett, Erin Smith and Sarah Jane Coleman knew that they would have to be on top of their game against P Curry knowing that when the game concluded that they would lose a quarter of their score.

The first 4 ends were well contested with both rinks scoring 2 singles but the Ballymena ladies were in fine form and with the help of 3 counts of 3 shots over the next 12 ends the visitors went in to the last 2 ends with a 13 shot advantage.

The Portstewart rink scored a single shot on the penultimate end and even though they also claimed a count of 5 shots on the final end it could not take the gloss off an excellent Braid performance with the final score 14.25 - 12