Ballymena Bowling Club got their new season officially underway last Saturday afternoon at their Old Ballymoney Road green.
It was up to the new Ballymena Bowling Club President, Mr George Graham and the new Ladies President, Mrs Pat Allen to deliver the first bowl of the season, and there was a good turnout of members to help celebrate the official start to the season.
Ballymena Bowling Club is also delighted to announce a 3 year sponsorship deal with Antrim based eating establishments Redz Piano Bar & Grill and Moes Grill.
Indeed the logo of Redz Piano Bar & Grill will appear on the new Club shirts and jackets which should arrive in the next few weeks.
Thanks not only go to the proprietors of Redz Piano Bar & Grill and Moes Grill for their financial support but also to Steven Falls (Vice President), George Graham (President) and Neal Garrett (Committee Member) for all their hard work in making this happen.
There are a lot of changes within the league structures of both the Northern Ireland Private Greens and Provincial Towns since this time last year.
Ballymena Seniors had a mixed year in 2014. The Braid men had previously won the NIPGL Senior League Division 1 title for 3 consecutive years between 2011 and 2013 however last year after some indifferent performances the Seniors could only finish in third place - behind Belmont and league winners Dunbarton.
This year Ballymena Seniors will be known as Ballymena ‘A’ and will play in PGL Division 1 and competition to win the title will not be made any easier as the number of teams in the league has been reduced to 10. The Ballymena men however did have some cup success.
Although the Braid team made an unexpected early exit in the Irish Senior Cup at the hands of Ballywalter they won the NIPGL Senior Cup with an excellent win against Belmont.
This year Ballymena ‘A’ travel to Willowfield on Saturday 9th May in the Irish Senior Cup and just two days earlier they also travel to Belmont ‘B’ in the first round of the PGL Senior Cup.
For most of 2014 it looked as though Ballymena Juniors would end up without any silverware for the first time in many years but on the last day of the season the Juniors claimed the victory they required to win the NIPGL Junior League Division 1 title for an amazing eighth time in nine years.
This year Ballymena Juniors will be known as Ballymena ‘B’ and in the new league structure they find themselves in PGL Division 3. Given their recent dominance in the NIPGL Junior League Division 1 promotion is certainly a realistic aim this season.
In the cup competitions Ballymena ‘B’ travel to Malone on Saturday 6th June in the Irish Intermediate Cup.
This cup competition has only been introduced this year and Ballymena ‘B’ will be hoping to be the first team to have their name engraved on the Cup.
Ballymena ‘B’ will compete in the NIPGL Senior Cup this year and they have received a first round bye.
This year Ballymena Senior Park become Ballymena ‘C’ and they will play in PGL Division 4. In 2014 Ballymena Senior Park made early exits in both the Irish Senior Cup and the NIPGL Senior Cup.
Ballymena ‘C’ will play in the Irish Junior Cup this year and on Saturday 9th May they have a home draw against Willowfield ‘B’ and then on Thursday 21st May they entertain Malone in the NIPGL Junior Cup.
There was no silverware for Ballymena Ladies in 2014.
They went in to their final league match of the 2014 campaign knowing that nothing less than a maximum haul of 7 points against local rivals Ballymoney would be enough to give them a chance of the title.
They put in a valiant performance and claimed a narrow 1 shot victory however the 5 points which they collected from the game was not enough to secure the title. Ballymena Ladies will continue to compete in the Provincial Towns Women’s Bowling Association League however this year both the Senior and Junior leagues have been amalgamated in to one league of 10 teams.
Games will be played on a home and away basis and with the extra games the ladies will be the first Ballymena team in action with their first game on Wednesday 15th May.
Last year some of the ladies teams struggled to field a full team i.e. Four rinks of 4 players and the other change this year is that teams will be made up of three rinks of 4 players.
The Ladies will also compete in the PTWBA Senior Cup (Mae Stevenson Cup).