Portrush Bowling Club returns to its Ramore Head home in time for centenary year celebrations
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For the past two seasons, they have been using the green and facilities at their neighbouring club, Portstewart. The club acknowledged their gratitude to the Portstewart Club on opening day by presenting them with an umpire’s kit.
The only original part of the old recreational grounds remaining is the bowling green. The second green has been replaced by a three-rink synthetic carpet, which is open to the public and the old pavilion has been replaced with a new single storey clubhouse.
On April 15, Club President Uel McCloy held his Opening Day which was attended by past, current and new members along with the various councillors who assisted and advised the Club throughout the process of the new grounds. After a light lunch, the club played a friendly game against Belmont Bowling Club, who were visiting Portrush green for the first time. Portrush played another friendly against Old Bleach later that week.
The senior team commenced their Premier League campaign on April 22 and, at the half-way stage, have won six of their seven games and hold a small 3.5 point lead over Limavady, last year’s league winners.
With the second half of the league due to get underway shortly, it will be all to play for for the Ramore Head men and ladies if they want to win the league title in their Centenary year. The senior team are still on course for the Irish Senior Cup having beaten Lurgan in the first round by six shots followed by a 39 shot win over Sydenham.
Their next opponents are Limavady, who will be playing on their home patch, and will have a lot of home support on Saturday, July 22.
The junior team have already claimed their first piece of silverware winning the Cupples Cup with a 79-73 win against Fairhill, Cookstown. The game was played in Ballymoney on a beautiful sunny evening on June 22. Adam Wilson’s rink faced the rink skipped by S Jeffers with only one shot in their game after 10 ends, the Portrush rink then scored a 5, 4, 3 and 3 to extend their lead and finish 23-11 winners.
Sammy White’s rink was drawn against L Thornton, again their game was tight over the opening stages, with the Portrush side two shots down after eight ends.
A score of 2, 3 and 3 resulted in the Portrush players take a seven shot lead then a reply of three singles by the Fairhill side was the last of their scoring as Portrush ran out winners 24-11 after scoring a 2, 3, 3 and a single on the last end. Big Tom Lithco played the rink of S Kells and were 9-6 down after 7 ends, but they replied with two singles, 4, 3, 3 and 2 to take a 20 – 9 lead but lost a 4 and 3 over the next two ends with only four shots now separating the rinks.
Portrush could only score a 2 on the 16th end with the Cookstown rink finishing off with two 2’s and Portrush taking the win 22 – 20. The last of the Portrush rinks was skipped by James Wasson but unfortunately his rink failed to perform to their best on the night suffering a huge 31-10 defeat. Thanks to the scoring method of a cup game, Portrush came out on top by a narrow margin of six shots.
With their cup campaign now complete, it was time to return to the league campaign. With a clean sheet so far at the half-way stage, Portrush are 10 points clear of their nearest competition.
This year the club have been fortunate in gaining many new members and also former members returning. One of the new members has certainly got off to a “Hot Shot” start – Mark Simpson, who only joined last month and has only played two junior league games has already scored not one, but two hot shots, one in each game.
Many bowlers have never scored one hot shot, never mind two. The rink of Tom Lithco, JJ Conwell, Clifford McLernon and Mark scored the maximum eight in the game against Brook Park and the following week, Jonny Millar, Ethna Tosh, David Crawford and Mark scored their eight against Magherafelt.
REACH have been chosen as Portrush Bowling Club’s nominated charity.
A few weeks ago, President Uel McCloy, a regular REACH attender, Vice- President JJ and club coach Ian McClure introduced the REACH members to indoor bowling. The club have also arranged for the group to come to try outdoor bowls.
Last week, the joint men and ladies British Isles and Senior International championships were held in Northfield, Ayr.
Portrush members Derek Smith, Gary McCloy and Ian McClure participated in the championships, having won the Irish triples last year, and topped it off by winning the British Isles title.
Donna McCloy was also participating in the championships, having won the ladies Irish Triples with Ballymena clubmates Barbara Cameron and Grace Henry, they also reached the final but just lost out to a very strong England triple.
The Internationals took on a new format this year with the usual 24-person team reduced to two 10-person teams. Gary and Ian were part of the men’s Ireland Shamrock team, finishing runners up and Donna was part of the ladies Ireland Emerald team.
If anyone is interested in trying out the game, details are posted on the fencing area around the club. Bowls will be provided and coaching provided by one of the qualified coaches. A group from Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) attend weekly for coaching, proving that bowls is a game for all.
The Club will complete the season by hosting a Centenary Gala dinner in October.