Michelin underline dominance with fifth successive League Cup triumph

Michelin bowling team, winners of the League Cup. INBT13-205AC
Michelin bowling team, winners of the League Cup. INBT13-205AC

Michelin underlined their status as the current kingpins of the local indoor bowls scene by completing another league and cup ‘double’.

The Woodside Road team defeated BIBC to win the League Cup for a remarkable FIFTH year in succession, to add to their Ballymena & District League triumph the previous week.

Tommy Lithco, captain of Michelin, receives the league cup from Annie Erwin (Chairman Ballymena Indoor Bowling League). INBT13-206AC

Tommy Lithco, captain of Michelin, receives the league cup from Annie Erwin (Chairman Ballymena Indoor Bowling League). INBT13-206AC

Michelin made light of the 10 shot handicap allowance their second division opponents BIBC were receiving with a devastating first half display, in which they outscored the BIBC rinks by a total of 26 shots.

Wesley Caldwell’s Michelin rink started off like a house on fire and they stunned Roy Torrington’s BIBC rink when they picked up counts of 5 and 3 over the first two ends and two ends later the score board read 11-0.

The BIBC rink picked up 2 singles to open their account but another 6 shots over the next 2 ends saw the Michelin rink extend their advantage to 15 shots.

The BIBC men doubled their advantage over the closing ends but it could not take the gloss off an excellent Michelin performance with the final score 17-4.

The Clough Rangers Club bowling team winners of the League Plate. INBT13-203AC

The Clough Rangers Club bowling team winners of the League Plate. INBT13-203AC

On the other mat, Tommy Hill’s BIBC rink made the better start against Grant Robinson and with four ends played they had opened up a 5-1 lead.

Unfortunately for the Old Ballymoney Road men, that was as good as it got as the Michelin rink totally dominated the remainder of the game.

A brace of ‘3’s put the Michelin rink in front and a further 11 shots over the remaining end gave the Woodside Road men a well deserved 18-5 victory.

That gave Michelin a 16 shot lead going in to the second half but to their credit, the BIBC second half rinks both played really well and at one stage they had reduced the deficit to only eight shots.

Annie Erwin, chairman of the Ballymena Indoor Bowling League, presents the League Plate to Raymond Aitcheson of Clough Rangers. INBT13-204AC

Annie Erwin, chairman of the Ballymena Indoor Bowling League, presents the League Plate to Raymond Aitcheson of Clough Rangers. INBT13-204AC

With four ends completed, Graham Wilson (Michelin) and Nigel Robinson (BIBC) had won 2 ends with BIBC holding a slight 3-2 advantage.

The whole Old Ballymoney Road rink was playing the better bowls and they doubled their score on the next end to lead by 4 shots.

Four ends and 4 singles later the gap had increased to 8 shots but 4 shots on the final end saw the Michelin rink halve the deficit to leave the final score 10-6.

Matthew Boyd’s Michelin rink dominated most of their meeting with the BIBC rink skipped by Steven Shields, who could only win one of the first 7 ends and during this period of play the Michelin rink had opened up a 5 shot lead.

The BIBC rink however had the better of the last few ends.

With only one end remaining the scores were level at 7-7 and the BIBC rink completed their comeback when they scored 2 shots on the final end to win the game by 10 shots to 8.

Despite those two second half rink wins for ‘BI’ they still finished 10 shots adrift overall as Michelin celebrated yet another trophy triumph.

LEAGUE PLATE

Earlier in the week, Clough Rangers lifted the League Plate after beating First Ballymena by four shots in a closely contested encounter.

In a similar story to the League Cup final, the third division side saw their 10-shot handicap advantage evaporate in the opening half, as Clough led 24-11 at the break.

Mal Norton’s rink were 12-7 victors over Jimmy Shields, while Lyle McQuitty’s First Ballymena rink never really recovered from being 8-0 down after five ends to Stuart Gregg’s rink, who eventually went on to win by 12 shots to four.

In the second half, Roland Woods’ foursome tried to haul ‘First’ back into contention, with counts of 3 and 6 on the third and fourth ends helping them to a 12-10 win over Gregory Kirk.

But an opening end count of 5 meant Raymond Aitcheson’s Clough rink was always in control of their tussle with Matt McPeake, with Rangers running out three shot winners on this rink.

LEAGUE

Clough were also involved in league action last week in a game which had great significance at the bottom end of the second division.

All Saints went into their outstanding game against Clough - who had already secured runners-up spot and promotion to the top flight - needing four points to stave off the threat of relegation. It never really looked like materialising, with Clough taking four of the five points from a nine-and-a-quarter shots win.

Saints’ fate was sealed by the interval after losing both first half rinks, with Stuart Gregg shading the verdict by a single shot against Anthony Mitchell, while Robert Kirkpatrick’s rink had eight shots to spare against Tony Dillon.

Clough continued to be in the ascendancy in the second period as Alistair Lowry’s rink - despite losing a quarter of their shots due to only having three players - still had too much for Nicholas Mitchell.

Eugene McReynolds rink provided Saints’ consolation, beating Raymond Aitcheson 7-3 in a low-scoring encounter, but that was never going to be enough to prevent the Cushendall Road side from dropping into the third tier next season.