Mid-Antrim bowlers give favourites a scare before cup exit

The Mid-Antrim Zone team pictured prior to their game with Armagh. INBT44-222AC

The Mid-Antrim Zone team pictured prior to their game with Armagh. INBT44-222AC

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Mid-Antrim’s hopes of Inter-Zone championship glory ended in gallant defeat on Saturday.

A 53-50 defeat at the hands of Armgah only goes some way to explaining an enthralling afternoon of Boomer Cup bowling at Killymurris.

Davy Elliott, Graham Wilson, Graham Maybin and Bryan Magrath, part of the Mid-Antrim Zone team who played Armagh on Saturday. INBT44-223AC

Davy Elliott, Graham Wilson, Graham Maybin and Bryan Magrath, part of the Mid-Antrim Zone team who played Armagh on Saturday. INBT44-223AC

Mid Antrim’s cause suffered a severe pre match blow when no less than seven of the original selection declared themselves unavailable. This forced the selectors into a complete reshuffle of the team with only two of the original six rinks remaining intact!

Undaunted, the Mid Antrim team put on a truly battling, competitive and spirited performance which almost eliminated the Armagh men from the competition.

Indeed on the final two ends of play, Mid Antrim lay 4 shots on mat 6 and 2 shots on mat 4 to put themselves ahead and within touching distance of an improbable win, only for Armagh to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Tom Morrison, Stephen Alexander, Graham Wilson and Matthew Boyd found themselves in opposition to Mark Sproule’s rink. The visitors held a slight advantage throughout the game and entered the last end 7-5 ahead. A 3 on the final end yielded them a hard fought 10-5 win.

Paul Millar, Richard Rodgers, Ivan Craig and Alan Cahoon were always ahead in their game and had the visitors under pressure so much so that they were forced to burn the 4th and the 8th ends with the host rink holding counts.

It has to be said that the visitors also enjoyed some good fortune particularly on the replayed 4th end when the visiting skip, Alan Roberts drove a short bowl into the head with three against to get shot. He repeated his good fortune on the final end of the game. With the Mid Antrim rink holding a tight count of 4 shots, Roberts again drove a short bowl splitting open the head and to add insult to injury, his own bowl followed through to gain 3 shots; a seven shot overall swing on one end! Never the less, the local rink deservedly won 10-8 but the margin of victory deserved to be more conclusive.

Debutant Adam Booth, along with the experienced Bryan Magrath, Alastair McCullough and Andrew Morrison took on the rink skipped by Terry Mulholland. The visitors emerged victorious winning 7 ends to the hosts’ 3 for a final score line of 5-9. This left Armagh holding a 27-20 half time advantage.

John Graham, Alan McCombe, David McCullough and Wesley Caldwell were drawn against Danny McDonald’s four. Entering the last end the scores were tied at 10-10 with ‘big Wes’ drawing two superb bowls on the 9th end to level the game from 8-10 down.

Martin Craig, Michael McMaster, Davy Elliot and William Morrison produced a dominant display against Joe Beattie’s quartet. After 7 ends they led 11-2 thanks largely to a 5 on the 4th end. On the 9th end Morrison produced one of the bowls of the day to remove an Armagh bowl for another count of 5. Beattie’s 2 on the final end meant the host rink emerged as convincing 16-6 winners.

Rink 6 of Graham Maybin, James McWhirter, Mark McCullough and David Morrison fought out a tremendous battle with Andrew Leckey’s four. The 4 scored by the visitors on the 2nd end gave them the advantage throughout the game and they led 8–4 entering the final end.

With William Morrison’s rink finished it was David and Wesley’s rinks that entered their final ends with Armagh holding a slender 1 shot advantage.

Amid rising tension and with David holding 4 and Wesley 2 it looked as though a shock result was about to happen but Andrew Leckey somehow found a narrow gap into the jack for shot against David and Danny McDonald emerged with a single to give the Orchard County men victory with practically the last bowls of the game.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Competition secretary Graham Maybin has confirmed the arrangements for the ladies and over 55’s national championship qualifiers as follows –

Ladies Singles: Thursday 30/10/14 at 8 pm (Baker Stadium).

Ladies Pairs: Saturday 01/11/14 at 4 pm (Baker Stadium).

Over 55’s: Monday 03/11/14 at 7:30 pm (2nd Broughshane Church Hall).

Ladies Triples: Monday 03/11/14 at 8 pm (2nd Broughshane Church Hall).