Fateful week could make or break Whitehead challenge

Whitehead Bowling Club’s ‘A’ team returned from the July break to play three matches in one fateful week which could make or break their challenge for league honours in 2012. Though they enjoyed some success, they slipped a little further behind the pacesetters and their fate is no longer in their own hands.

Thursday, 2nd August 2012, 9:42 am

The first of three matches was away to Portadown, recent winners of the N.I.B.A. Senior Cup and conquerors of Whitehead on their way! There was to be no repeat of this result, even on their home patch on a dull Tuesday evening.

Though Philip Weir lost 17 - 14 and Barry Browne fell 23 - 16 , the other two wins earned a welcome five points. JR Wilson had four shots to spare, winning 19 - 23. James Caldwell stunned the Armagh men with his 9 - 29 triumph. If success breeds confidence, there should be none more self-assured than his back-up trio of Sean Mullen, Andy Rankin and Philip Gilmartin!

on Thursday, the Whitehead men had to travel again, this time to Belvoir Park to face the league leaders and current favourites, Balmoral. Nothing less than five points would suffice, but they fell agonisingly short in a tense tussle.

JR Wilson secured one point, winning 17 - 24, with Jason Tweedie prominent. James Caldwell enhanced his rink’s reputation with a commendable 21 - 18 victory against the pride of Balmoral, Clifford Craig.

Unfortunately, Browne suffered a 24 - 16 defeat while Weir was eclipsed 32 - 14 by Matt Reid who could simply do no wrong.

Two points away from home are always welcome, but the five Balmoral banked have virtually secured the League title.

After two tough away fixtures, the mighty Whites enjoyed home advantage against Banbridge on Sarurday.

Strangely enough, Browne lost out again, going down 19 - 23. So too did JR Wilson, who was defeated 18 - 26. His rink will draw comfort from their two previous wins. James Caldwell made it three wins from three with a 21-18 win.

The most remarkable result of the whole week came in the remaining game. The selectors had responded to the Balmoral defeat by making a few positional changes.

Matthew Crawford was promoted to Skip, with the experienced James Burns in third. Jack Montgomery and the veteran Billy Browne, it was hoped, would provide a balanced front end. The experiment worked, to the tune of 40 - 8! Amazingly this included two sevens and a magic maximum eight! Crawford made the skipping responsibilities look easy!

Of course, this huge scoreline ensured Whitehead returned to winning ways. They now must hope that Bangor and Balmoral slip up between now and September.