Mid-Antrim bowed out of the Inter-Zone Shield competition after losing by two shots to Mid-Ulster at Killymurris on Saturday.
It proved to be a thoroughly engrossing affair and, with the regulation 60 ends of bowling complete, both teams were deadlocked at 55 shots each. Consequently, the match had to be decided on a nerve jangling ‘tie end’.
The drama began with the Mid Antrim rink of John Graham, Alan McCombe, David McCullough and Wesley Caldwell in opposition to Damien McElroy. The opening 5 ends saw a series of 1’s and 2’s being exchanged and both rinks scored a further 7 shots each over the closing 5 ends which yielded the Mid Ulster rink a hard fought 10–9 win.
Alan Cahoon’s rink of Paul Millar, Richard Rodgers and Ivan Craig began well against Mark Wilson, establishing a 4 – 0 advantage after 2 ends. A well constructed 4 on the 8th end put the hosts further ahead, 11–4. However, the visitors struck back on the 9th with Mark Wilson removing a Mid Antrim bowl from the head for a count of 5 shots. Two shots secured on the final end gave the host rink a deserved 13–9 win.
Andrew Booth, Stephen Alexander, David Duncan and Neill Booth were 3-1 ahead early on against Danny McStravock but three consecutive winning ends gave the visitors control and winning three of the last four ends couldn’t prevent a 12-8 defeat for Mid-Antrim.
In the second half, Andrew Graham, Graham Wilson, Alastair McCullough and Andrew Duncan were trailing going into the final end against Dyane Jordan. When Alastair McCullough superbly ditched the jack on the final end, the hosts lay 5 shots, which at the time looked possibly to have given Mid Antrim an overall winning position in the match. However, Jordan managed to turn a Mid Ulster “toucher” in for 2nd shot with the final bowl to ensured his rink a narrow 9 -7 victory.
David Morrison’s rink of Graham Maybin, Andrew Bonnar and Mark McCullough played superbly to record a 13-7 win over Colum McHugh.
The decisive match took place on mat 5 between Alan Paul’s Mid Ulster rink and the Mid Antrim rink of Martyn Craig, Michael McMaster, David Elliott and William Morrison.
A Mid-Antrim single on the ninth end gave the hosts a 55–54 overall lead with one end to play. It looked as though David Elliott’s brilliant forehand shot trailing the jack to the ditch to lay shot was going to see Mid Antrim over the line. Both skips then attempted to put “touchers”into the ditch and William Morrison was unfortunate to turn a Mid Ulster bowl in for shot to level the score at 55-55.
It fell to the Paul and William Morrison rink to play the tie end. Mid Antrim opened well with Marty Craig drawing a front “toucher” to lay shot. However, as the end progressed, Martin’s bowl was disturbed, exposing the jack. Paul took full advantage and drew the jack to another Mid Ulster back bowl leaving William in an almost impossible position. The ‘2’ claimed by Paul’s rink gave Mid Ulster a hard earned 57–55 win.