For the second consecutive year, Mid Antrim’s hopes of Boomer Cup glory perished at the hands of Armagh.
Whilst last years defeat was by the narrow margin of 3 shots, this year’s corresponding encounter produced a very different outcome with the men from the Orchard County securing victory by a convincing margin of 30 shots at Killymurris.
The opening period of the game gave little indication of the eventual result with the visitors just ahead by 3 shots at half time.
Mat 1 saw Andrew Graham, James Gaston, Alistair McCullough and Andrew Morrison in opposition to Terry Mulholland’s charges. The host rink settled quickly and shaded the opening ends to lead 8 – 3 after six ends. The visitors hit back with a 4 on the seventh end to close the gap to 1 shot. A total of 5 shots were scored over the closing three ends resulting in a 10 – 10 draw.
A similar pattern emerged on mat 3 with Wesley Caldwell’s rink of Garfield Lithco, David McCullough and Graham Wilson taking early control against the rink skipped by Mark Sproule. In the first end “big Wes” produced a forehand drive, removing 3 visitors’ bowls for an opening count of 4. At the half way mark, Caldwell’s rink still held the upper hand, leading 7 – 3. Armagh came back strongly in the second half of this game winning four of the remaining ends to force an 8 – 8 draw.
Alan Cahoon’s rink of Stephen McMaster, Doran Turtle and Ivan Craig were paired against Andrew Leckey’s four on mat 2. The visitors produced a blistering start to this game and opened up a 12 – 0 lead courtesy of some very attacking play. To their credit the hosts kept plugging away and won the last four ends to reduce the arrears to three shots, giving Leckey’s rink a 12 – 9 win.
Stuart McSorley’s rink provided the opposition to William Morrison’s four of Martyn Craig, Michael McMaster and Neill Booth on mat 4. The visitors dominated proceedings on this mat winning nine of the ten ends to win by 12 – 4.
The theme continued on mat 5 with Martin Trainor’s rink limiting David Morrison’s rink comprising Mark McCullough, James McWhirter and David Elliott to three scoring ends. The Armagh rink emerging from this game with an 11 shots to 3 win.
Andrew Duncan’s rink of Nigel Robinson, David Duncan and Alan McCombe met a similar fate on mat 6 against Joe Beattie’s four who limited the hosts to two scoring ends resulting in an Armagh victory by 14 – 3.
Overall this was both a disappointing result and a disappointing performance by the Mid Antrim team who never got to grips with Armagh’s attacking style of play.
Not for the first time, Mid Antrim had to make several changes from the original selection resulting in both personnel and positional changes.