Michelin pulled a point further clear of rivals BPFA ‘A’ in the two-horse race for the Ballymena & District League title last week.
The defending champions maintained their impressive record this season with another full points haul from their trip to Old Bleach.
Wesley Caldwell’s rink had trailed 5-1 to Jonathan Millar at the halfway stage of their game, however, counts of 3, 4 and 5 for the Michelin rink over the closing stages saw them claim a 16-6 win.
On the other mat, Grant Robinson’s visiting foursome settled down quickly and 6 shots over the first 4 ends gave them an ideal start against Neil Booth.
The Old Bleach rink stunned the Michelin men when they picked up a count of 5 shots on the 5th end and when they claimed a further 2 shots on the next end it appeared that the momentum of the game had changed in favour of the Randalstown men. The Michelin rink however dusted themselves down and a single on the next end saw the scores level at 7-7 and they went on to win the final 3 ends to claim a hard fought victory by 11 shots to 7.
Matthew Boyd’s meeting with Mervyn McDonald was a low-scoring encounter early on, with the Michelin rink shading the seven singles scored over the first seven ends.
They doubled their advantage when the picked up a count of 4 shots on the 8th end. The home rink scored 2 shots on the penultimate end to reduce the arrears to 3 shots but the Michelin men finished off the job on the final end when they added a further 3 shots to their score to win by 11 shots to 5.
The closest game of the evening saw Graham Wilson pip Bryan Magrath by eight shots to seven.
At the half way stage of the game the visitors had opened up a 6-3 lead but with only 1 end remaining the scores was level at 7-7. The final end built up well for the home rink and it took a good drive from Wilson to slice the jack off the side of the mat which meant that the end had to be played again.
Unfortunately it was a similar story on the replayed end and a good final bowl from the Old Bleach skip left the Michelin rink staring defeat in the face. The visitors however were not to be beaten and an excellent bowl from the Michelin skip saw the visitors claim a last bowl victory with the final score 8-7.
A night earlier, BPFA ‘A’ had come through a tricky test when they won at Golf Club but, crucially, they let a point slip through their grasp with the last bowl on one of the rinks.
Broughshane battled their way to both first half points after two keenly contested clashes, with Doran Turtle and Andy Morrison winning close-fought meetings with Johnny Lynn and Sean McGarry.
Alan Cahoon’s 16-shot win over Fred Dawson put Broughshane in control and it looked as though they were going to take all five points as David Morrison’s rink led 7-0 after two ends against David McCullough.
However the Raceview rink knuckled down and a count of four on the last end saw McCullough’s four snatch a 12-11 win.
In the other first division game, JTI claimed a much-needed win at the expense of BPFA ‘B’.
Broughshane had bossed the first half with a win for Adrian Hamill, while Andrew Davidson had shared the spoils in his meeting with Timothy Rock.
But JTI roared back after the tea break and wins from Len McIlroy and a particularly impressive success from Billy Lynn’s rink earned them a 12-shot win.
Runaway leaders BIBC dropped two points despite a 21-shot win over Glenravel, who moved off the bottom as a result.
The main difference between the teams was Stephen Shields’ rink’s 21-3 win over Vera Bryson, while Nigel Robinson’s quartet also won for the Old Ballymoney Road side.
Glenravel’s points were earned by John McKeegan and Martin McKillop.
Services ‘A’ cut the gap on BIBC slightly when they earned four points from their home game against Harryville Community Centre.
It was all square at the halfway point with Harold Smyth’s rink’s win for Harryville cancelled out by Mark Shaw for Services.
The Trostan Avenue side dominated the second half with wins from Bill Kitson and Dessie McNeill steering them to victory.
Clough remain in the hunt for promotion after taking full points from their home game against Golf Seniors.
It was a closer match than the points tally would suggest, as Jimmy Gregg, Raymond Aitcheson and Gregory Kirk all won their games by narrow margins, while R Hutchinson’s rink had something to spare in beating Ian Lecky.
The surprise name at the bottom of the table is Moneyglass, whose miserable campaign continued as they were beaten at home by All Saints.
Again, both first half points were shared with Eugene McReynolds’ eight shot win for Saints negated by Sean McNeill’s rink’s win by the same margin for ‘MG’.
That was as good as it got for the home side, however, as Saints won both second half tussles by four shots, their points earned by Tony Dillon and Anthony Mitchell.
Antrim Indoor Bowling Club took advantage of joint leaders First Ballymena being on their ‘bye’ week by opening up a four-and-a-half point lead at the summit thanks to a win over Services ‘B’.
The game was effectively over as a contest by the interval, by which stage Antrim had established a 28-shot lead, thanks to clear-cut wins from rinks skipped by father and son Robert and Darren McCullough. Tommy Evans underlined Antrim’s superiority in the second period and Services’ only crumb of comfort came from a half-point earned by Sheila Smith against John Logan.
Eaton Park, after their struggles last season, continued their decent campaign this time around with another win, at the expense of Maine.
George Reid and Gary Shaw skipped the winning rinks for the rugby club side, while B Magill and Paddy O’Neill ‘pointed’ for the Randalstown side.
West Church climbed off the bottom of the table, leap-frogging Round Tower after beating the Antrim side by five shots, earning four points as a result.
Victor Mahon and Annie Erwin had West Church in control at the break and Jim Rainey’s rink ensured the church side would secure the lion’s share of the points. Round Tower’s response came via Michael Teer’s rink, a regular source of points for the Antrim outfit.
Division One: Michelin, played 10, points 43; BPFA ‘A’ 10-40; Golf Club 9-22; Old Bleach 8-21.5; BPFA ‘B’ 10-15.5; JTI 9-11; Portglenone CC 9-7.
Division Two: BIBC 11-39; Services ‘A’ 11-30.5; Clough Rangers 10-29.5; Harryville CC 11-27; All Saints 10-23.5; Golf Seniors 11-22; Glenravel 10-19.5; Moneyglass 10-19.
Division Three: Antrim IBC 10-34.5; First Ballymena 9-30; Services ‘B’ 9-25.5; Eaton Park 10-20; Maine 9-19.5; West Church 10-19; Round Tower 9-16.5