Banbridge see off stern Sydenham test to stay top

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On the hottest Saturday of the year so far Banbridge Bowling Club’s senior team travelled to east Belfast for what is always a tough tie at Inverary Park against Sydenham. The main priority for the visitors was to try and come away with a victory and that they did in another great team display, collecting all 7 points up for grabs for the third week in a row and winning overall 97-68.

Rink 1

On rink 1 for Banbridge we had Matthew Cromie, Adam Cromie, John McCloughlin and Philip Cromie facing off against the Sydenham rink skipped by Lee Carson. The visitors raced into a 7-1 lead after 5 ends of play but failed to score over the next 5 ends with Sydenham snatching a 10-7 lead after 10 ends. The match after this point tilted in Banbridge’s favour with them winning 7 of the next 11 ends and finishing out the match 22-16 winners, claiming the first rink point for Banbridge.

Rink 2

Banbridge rink skipped by Gavan Blakely, closing in on victoryBanbridge rink skipped by Gavan Blakely, closing in on victory
Banbridge rink skipped by Gavan Blakely, closing in on victory

On the second rink for the visiting team we had the four of Seamus Skelton, Willy Steenson, Clifford Dennison and James Kelly lining up against the home rink skipped by Graham McKee. This was a tight tussle throughout the day with both sides tied 5-5 after 5 ends of play. The Sydenham lads got their noses in front at the half way stage, leading 13-9 after 10 ends thanks to counts of 3 shots and 4 shots on consecutive ends. This Bann rink though always dig in and grabbed the initiative back after 15 ends, leading the home side 15-14. This set up a tight run in, with both sides tied 19-19 heading into the last end. It was Kelly’s rink who held their nerve picking up 2 shots in the last end to chalk up another rink win for the Bann, winning 21-19.

Rink 3

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On Rink 3 for the Bann men we had Mervyn Jess, Ian Wright, Pete Haughey and Kyle Blakely up against the Sydenham rink skipped by Thomas Carson. This really was a game of 2 halves here with the visitors only scoring on 3 of the first 11 ends and trailing Carson’s four 10-8 after 11 ends. The Banbridge men found their rhythm though from this point and won 8 of the last 10 ends, with a count of 5 shots on the 14th end a hammer blow to the home rink as this put the Banbridge rink 15-10 up and they never looked back from this point and signed off here with a commanding 27-13 victory.

Rink 4

On Rink 4 for the visitors we had Ken Stevenson, Martin Nelson, Gareth McCloughlin and Gavan Blakely facing the Sydenham rink skipped by Thomas McClean. After 5 ends of play here the Banbridge four took the initiative, leading 10-3. The Bann rink would strengthen their position over the next 6 ends to now lead 17-9 after 11 ends. The Sydenham lads dug in over the next 5 ends to reduce their arrears to just 3 shots, now trailing 19-16. This would be as close they would get though as the Banbridge foursome went on to run out 27-20 victors and complete a clean sweep for Banbridge.

This was seen as a major test for Banbridge here by many and the fact they came through it picking up a full 7 points is a testament to the squad they have this year with several players still missing for this game and it definitely stands the team in good stead going forward. This week the senior team play their first cup game of the season at home on Wednesday (15th) to Sydenham in the NIBA senior cup. Then following on from that facing current league champions Bangor at home this Saturday in what will prove to be the biggest game of the season so far.

On Saturday Banbridge junior team hosted Lisnagarvey at King George V playing fields with the Bann outfit once again just falling short in their attempt to gain their first league win of the season, losing out narrowly 76-80 but still claiming 2.5 points in doing so. The rink scores are as follows:-

Banbridge VS Lisnagarvey

Paul Chambers 23 vs 23 Stevie Irwin

Jim Major 19 vs 11 B Magennis

Ben McArdle 25 vs 13 Allan Johnston

Mark Campbell 9 vs 33 Irene Scott

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Our junior team will take a break from league bowls next weekend and will face Old Bleach B team away in the first round of the Irish Intermediate cup with their league game away to Lurgan deferred to the following Tuesday (21st) night.

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