The final of the Magrath Shield - one of the big dates on the local indoor bowls calendar - took place at First Ahoghill last week.
The competition was inaugurated by the late Bryan Magrath in 1993 and has raised thousands of pounds for cancer charities over the years.
This was the first year that the Shield has been held since Bryan passed away and it was fitting that Bryan’s wife Karen and children Jennifer and Andrew were present to award the Shield to the winners.
This year the final took place between Michelin, who won the Ballymena & District Indoor Bowling League last year and 1st Ahoghill, winners of the Ballymena & District Churches League.
In the first half, Jennifer Wilson, Seamus McMath, Mark McCullough and Grant Robinson (Michelin) notched an impressive 10-2 win over Helen Maybin, Denver Logan, Graham Maybin and Tom Morrison, while the tussle between Alistair Gilmore, William McCaughern, James McWhirter and Chris Wilson and Ahoghill’s Elizabeth Boyd, Bobby Fleming, Michael McMaster and Andrew Morrison ended deadlocked at 8-8.
Ahoghill won the remaining two first half rinks with Isobel Small, Roberta Morrison, John Graham and David Morrison defeating Sammy Hamill, Jackson Currie, Michael Wilson and Wesley Caldwell 9-3, while John Graham (Snr), Thomas McMaster, Andrew Graham and William Morrison had six shots to spare against John Graham (Snr), Thomas McMaster, Andrew Graham and William Morrison
After the break Robert Strange, Thomas McMaster, Andrew Graham and William Morrison (AHoghill) edged out Alistair Gilmore, William McCaughern, Chris Wilson and Matt Boyd by a shot but Michelin responded with a win for Sammy Hamill, Jackson Currie, Michael Wilson and Wesley Caldwell against Peggy Sterling, Denver Logan, Graham Maybin and Tom Morrison.
Ronnie Carlton, Tom Lithco, Jonathan Reid and Graham Wilson’s win over Sam Dennis, Bobby Fleming, Michael McMaster and Andrew Morrison pushed Michelin in front and even though Joe Small, Roberta Morrison, John Graham and David Morrison won the last game for Ahoghill against Jennifer Wilson, Seamus McMath, David Elliott and Grant Robinson, Michelin prevailed 52-46 overall.
The real winner on the night, however, was Cancer Focus NI. A collection was taken up during the interval and the total of £353 was raised was handed over to representative Mrs Betty Millar.