BOWLS: Whitehead begin title defence with a win
Whitehead got off to brilliant start in the defence of their Northern Ireland Bowling Association Division 1 league title with a win over newly-promoted Dromore BC at Castleview Road.
On rink one, James Burns, Philip Gilmartin, Stephen Moran and James Caldwell of Whitehead took on the Dromore four of F. Shannon, R. Bolton, N. Shaw and N. Haire. After an early surge from Dromore, Caldwell’s men weaved their way back into it only for Haire’s rink to open up a 21-12 lead after 15 ends and despite a late rally from the Whites the County Down men went on to win 22-18.
Over on rink two, Martin McHugh’s rink of Jack Montgomery, Billy Browne and JR Wilson eased to 36-14 shot win.
Young Montgomery, Billy Browne and Wilson leapt into last season’s championship winning form and built tremendous head of bowls to fire McHugh’s rink into a 19-4 lead after 10 ends. Something magical nearly happened in the 14th when the big skip played an absolute gem of a bowl to take out Dromore’s closest bowl for a maximum score, only for one of Whitehead’s bowls to be out of the count by a measure. The Whites produced terrific heads throughout remainder of game to win their point.
Stephen McKinley’s rink of Ryan McKeown, Andy Rankin and Simon Beggs were made to battle in the early stages but they were out in fron at after 15 ends, leading 18-9.
They continued to produce the ‘wow’ factor with a fabulous six in 20th end, closing out the game with a 28-12 win.
Over on rink four, Barry Browne’s team of Nigel Beggs, Gary Clawson and Philip Weir werw 16-5 to the good after 10 ends.
Browne’s rink closed out the game with confidence winning by 26-14 shots.
Final score: Whitehead 108 (6) Dromore 61 (1).