Title race opens up as defending champions suffer rare setback

Elizabeth Harris of JTI in action against BPFA A in Broughshane Commuity Centre. INBT 47-200JC
Elizabeth Harris of JTI in action against BPFA A in Broughshane Commuity Centre. INBT 47-200JC

There was no disputing the stand-out result of the week - and indeed the season so far - in the Ballymena & District League.

It came at Ballymena Bowling Club where the home team produced a stunning performance to take four points from reigning champions Michelin.

Lorraine Leacock of Antrim Indoor in action against BPFA B in Broughshane Community Centre. INBT 47-194CS

Lorraine Leacock of Antrim Indoor in action against BPFA B in Broughshane Community Centre. INBT 47-194CS

It was a closely-fought contest on three of the rinks but the home team held its nerve to record a victory that sees them leapfrog their opponents and into a share of the league leadership.

There was no indication of what lay in store for Wesley Caldwell’s rink as they led Stephen Shields by four shots to three after four ends.

Little did the Michelin foursome know, however, that would be the last time they would trouble the scoreboard with counts of four on the eighth end and three on the ninth helping the ‘BI’ rink to a 10-shot win - a significant contribution to the overall cause.

Tommy Hill’s BIBC rink started briskly against Grant Robinson and led 6-2 at the halfway stage.

Maria Millar of BPFA B in action against Antrim Indoor. INBT 47-195CS

Maria Millar of BPFA B in action against Antrim Indoor. INBT 47-195CS

A brace of ‘3’s put the Michelin rink in front and with each rink claiming a single over the next 2 ends it left Robinson’s men two up going in to the last end where the BI rink ditched the jack and they eventually went on to claim 3 shots to win the game by 10 shots to nine.

David Duncan’s ‘BI’ rink started off in similar fashion against Matt Boyd, establishing an 8-3 advantage after five ends.

Three ends later, however, they had dragged themselves back in to the game when the picked up five shots to level the game. Two shots on the penultimate end gave the BI rink the advantage going in to the final end and a further single on the final end gave the home rink victory by 11 shots to 8.

The other game pitted together the rinks skipped by Roy Torrington and Graham Wilson, who were locked at 10-10 going into the final end. The visiting third sprung the jack to give the Woodside Road rink a chance of victory. The Michelin rink drew the shot with his first bowl.

The BI skip then drove at head with his final delivery but when the bowls had settled the visitors lay 2 shots. Michelin skip Wilson drew another shot with his final bowl to claim a hard fought 13-10 victory.

That result enabled BPFA ‘A’ to join BIBC at the top of the table but they were pushed all the way by a dogged JTI side before eventually claiming a four shot victory.

Ivan Craig and William Morrison skipped winning rinks for Broughshane, while Timothy Rock and Graham Maybin’s quartets claimed a brace of points for JTI.

Golf Club inflicted a fourth straight defeat on Old Bleach with a nine-shot success in Randalstown.

Johnny Lynn, Sean McGarry and David McCullough all led their Raceview rinks to victory with Jonathan Millar registering Bleach’s lone point.

DIVISION TWO

The clash of the top two sides, Portglenone Community Centre and Golf Seniors, went very much the way of the Bannsiders, who claimed four points after wins from Kevin O’Kane, Joe McErlean and Roy Hunter, after Ivan McMaster had won for Seniors.

BPFA ‘B’s stuttering early-season form is threatening to derail their efforts to regain their top flight status and they suffered their third defeat in five games when they lost as home to Antrim.

Noel Graham’s rink were handsome winners against Darren McCullough but Broughshane could only add a further half point through Adi Davison’s draw with Tommy Evans, while Robert McCullough and Robin Kennedy’s rink win secured a good away win for the Antrim side.

Services ‘A’ improved their position with a win over First Ballymena, who are battling gamely after their promotion last season.

Declan Mclaughlin and Bill Kitson’s wins for Services totalled five shots more than Roland Woods and David McQuitty’s wins for ‘First’ earning the Trostan Avenue side three points.

Harryville Community Centre moved into second place in the table after beating bottom side Glenravel.

Harold Smyth and Gary Worthington steered their Harryville rinks to a 10-shot overall victory, with Vera Bryson and Martin O’Neill successful for the Martinstown side.

DIVISION THREE

Moneyglass now boast the only 100 per cent record in the three divisions after a third straight win over All Saints, whose sole point was earned by Anthony Mitchell. Sean McNeilly, Sean Kerr and Tommy Magee were victorious for ‘MG’.

West Church lifted themselves away from the foot of the table by taking three points from their visit to Maine, where they had 10 shots to spare after impressive wins for Tommy Wilson and Jim Rainey. Paddy Kerr and Brie Magill netted the Randalstown side’s points.

The Round Tower v Eaton park game was postponed due to a bereavement.