Ballymoney 80 (1.5) Cookstown 81 (5.5)
OVER the past few seasons Cookstown and Ballymoney have dominated the NIPBA and raised the bar for other clubs to follow.
So games between these 2 giants of the game never seem to disappoint.
On rink 1 Cookstown’s Mark Wilson and his rink of Philip Wallace, Paul Mitchell and Ashley Wright locked horns with Ballymoneys W McCaw. Wilson and his rink started the game brightly and took an early lead only to be pegged back by McCaw and co.
Going into the final end though Mark and his rink trailed by 2 shots 19-17, Ashley Wright who has settled well since his move from Dungannon gave Mark the best possible start with two excellent lead bowls, Paul Mitchell then provided the cover with his 2 brilliant covering bowls thus heaping the pressure on Ballymoney.
Philip Wallace and Mark kept their cool to lift a count of 2 to seal a 19-19 draw. Great display by this rink again.
On rink 2 Cookstown stalwart Liam McHugh and his rink of Keith Wright, Thomas Allen and Tommy Johnston faced Ballymoney’s A Steele. Steele and his rink adjusted to the tricky green conditions and built up a commanding early lead with Cookstown struggling with too many short bowls. Liam rallied his rink and played some stunning drawing shots that proved crucial to the big board at the end. Though Ballymoney held on to win this game 23-13.
On rink 3 Cookstown’s Damien McElroy, Gary Scott, Brian Thom and Chris McKnight had the pick of the draws and had to overcome Gary Kelly and ex Cookstown player Alan Paul’s rink.
Cookstown showed their intent early in this match with McKnight and Thom playing excellent bowls building up an early lead.
Cookstown were in the driving seat in this match for most of the game only for Kelly to play some wonder bowls.
Cookstown would have been riding into the sunset long before the last end. Gary Scott and skip Damien McElroy kept turning the screw on Ballymoney and Cookstown ran out 26-16 winners,. This was a great rink display by Damien and co.
On rink 4 Cookstown’s Colin Hogg and his rink of Sean Quinn, Noel Glasgow and Robert Aspeniall faced B McAlary. Both rinks got of to a good start with a fine display of bowls coming from either side.
After 10 ends Cookstown took a deserved 4 shot lead. Ballymoney came fighting back and going into the last end Ballymoney lead 22-20. With all of the other rink games finished Cookstown trailed in the overall score by 2 shots the same Hogg needed to tie his game.
With Ballymoney lying shot the pressure fell on the shoulders of Colin Hogg to produce a shot that would live long in the memory and take Cookstown over the line. Colin had only 1 shot on and which was to trail the jack by a yard to bring in Cookstown’s back bowls. Colin with his years of experience produced a world class bowl to trail it that golden yard for Cookstown to hold 3 which would have sealed the match and overall. McAlary had still 1 bowl left to silence the Cookies though it just fell short which sent Cookstown into raptures to win the game by a single shot.
This was a great team performance by Cookstown which keeps their unbeaten start intact. Next up for Cookstown is a break from league action, with Irish cup duty at home to Hilden this Saturday.