The start of the new year brought a welcome change of fortunes for Round Tower in the Ballymena & District Indoor Bowling League.
Having finished 2015 in the unenviable position of propping up the league at the foot of Division Three, the Antrim side ensured that position only lasted a few days into the new year.
Round Tower claimed only their second victory of the league campaign as they took all five points from their home meeting with West Church - leapfrogging the church side in the table in the process.
The omens were looking good for Round Tower at the break as they had amassed a 29 shots to 15 lead, thanks to victories from R Walker and Helen Totten.
And the Antrim side were in no mood to take their foot off the gas after the interval as further wins from John O’Neill and Michael Teer ensured that Round Tower claimed all five points from a comprehensive 57 shots to 28 victory.
Eaton Park’s revival has been one of the most heartening stories of the season after their struggles to even field a team in the opening weeks of the campaign and they continued their steady progress as they started the new year with a four shot win over Maine.
In the classic ‘game of two halves’ the rugby club side looked to have victory in the bag as they raced to a 33-12 half-time lead, thanks to Bonar Hill and Gary Shaw’s triumphs over Brie Magill and Laurence McQuillan.
But Maine certainly weren’t prepared to go down without a fight Brian Kerr and Paddy Kerr their rinks to victories, only for the Randalstown side to come up four shots short overall.
Round Tower 57 (5), West Church 28 (0): R Walker 16, V Mahon 4; H Totten 13, J Rainey 10; J O’Neill 16, M Livingstone 6; M Teer 12, T Wilson 8.
Eaton Park 41 (3), Maine 37 (2): B Hill 18, B Magill 5; G Shaw 15, L McQuillan 7; G Reid 3, B Kerr 13; J Carruthers 5, P Kerr 12.
Broughshane Playing Fields ‘B’ claimed a notable league ‘double’ over Portglenone Community Centre in the first round of fixtures of the new year.
The Knockan Road side had been the only team to inflict defeat on the Bannsiders - in the opening week of the season - and they repeated the dose with a nine shot success at Clady, claiming three points.
Wins from George Davidson and William Esler - who claimed a count of six shots on one end - were enough to see Broughshane home by a margin of nine shots.
Portglenone’s response came from wins from the rinks skipped by Kevin O’Kane and Roy Hunter, who edged out Adi Davison by a single shot.
Golf Seniors cut Portglenone’s lead at the top of the table to just half a point as they took four points from their meeting with Antrim Indoor Bowling Club.
Ivan McMaster’s rink raced to a 16-1 lead over Robert McCullough’s foursome after five ends, before eventually winning 18-4, while John Nichols and Donald Smyth’s rinks also added to the Raceview side’s points tally. Antrim’s sole response came from Darren McCullough’s rink.
At the bottom end of the table, Glenravel, like Round Tower in the third division, moved off the basement position by beating their nearest rivals, First Ballymena.
Martin McKillop, Martin O’Neill and John McKeegan’s rinks all recorded victories for the Martinstown side, with a two-shot win from Jonathan Davidson the best that ‘First’ could muster in reply.
In the other game, Harryville Community Centre took three points from their meeting with Services ‘A’ despite the sides finishing deadlocked at 31 shots apiece.
That was because Harryville had two rink wins, from David Wilkinson and Harold Smyth, against Pauline Wilson’s lone win for Services, while the game between Joe Patterson and Bill Kitson finished all square, meaning the overall points for shots total was also halved.
Portglenone Community Centre 26 (2), BPFA ‘B’ 35 (3): J McErlean 2, G Davidson 10; K O’Kane 10, N Graham 8; C Jones 7, W Esler 11; R Hunter 7, A Davison 6.
Golf Seniors 43 (4), Antrim IBC 34 (1): I McMaster 18, R McCullough 4; I Lecky 3, D McCullough 16; J Nichols 13, T Evans 7; D Smyth 9, R Kennedy 7.
Glenravel 42 (4), First Ballymena 29 (1): M McKillop 10, R Woods 4; M O’Neill 7, J Davidson 9; M McKeegan 9, D McQuitty 8; J McKeegan 16, L McQuitty 8.
Harryville Community Centre 31 (3), Services ‘A’ 31 (2): D Wilkinson 8, B McClenaghan 5; H Smyth 11, D McLaughlin 8; J Patterson 8, B Kitson 8; N Worthington 4, P Wilson 10.