Mid-Ulster men’s inter-zone team went in against Western confident of progressing to the semi-final this year.
On Western’s last visit the home side won by a massive margin. While Mid-Ulster’s form had been patchy it was expected that the nationals and short mat tour event would have sharpened them.
But the unexpected happened as Western won on the final end.
Rink of D Jordan, L McHugh, D Grimes, C Hogg led by 3 after 3 ends and it could have been more, while D McElroy, S Kyne, A Ward and G Smith led by 5.
The final rink of S Quinn, D McStravock, S McGlinchey and A Spratt found themselves in difficulty, 6–0 down.
Jordan’s rink continued to dominate without picking up the shots they could have secured but nevertheless they were solid in winning 10–5.
McElroy’s rink were always in control and, but for two saving shots by the Western skip, would have won by more than the 12–5 score.
Quinn’s rink recovered to square the game after 7 ends but a single and 3 on the last end lost the game 11–7.
Mid-Ulster were up 8 at the interval but really could have doubled that. The home side should have built on this but the reverse was the case.
The rink of C McHugh, T Johnston, G Merron and D McAllister could have been out of sight after two ends where one bowl kept them out of a possible eight shots.
They led throughout apart from one end but lost a two on the last which proved crucial. M Wilson, J McKay, T Turkington and J Shepherd had a tight game with G Burke and took the lead in the 6th end.
Unfortunately a loss of two on the last also proved crucial. It was a day when the rink of A Paul, C Hill, W Lennox and N Conway never got going.
While their opponents played well and took their chances, the home rink will be disappointed with how they played in winning only 2 of the 10 ends and going down 17–5.
So ended a campaign which promised much and the eagerly awaited semi-final with Oriel must wait another day.
Scores: S Quinn, D Mcstravock, S McGlinchey, A Spratt- 7-11 A Graham; D Jordan, L McHugh, D Grimes, C Hogg 10-5 M McGrade; D McElroy, S Kyne, A Ward, G Smith 12-5 G McNabb; M Wilosn, J McKay, T Turkington, J Shepherd 7-7 G Burke; C McHugh, T Johnston, G Merron, D McAllister 11-9 K Bradshaw; A Paul, C Hill, W Lennox, N Conway 5-17 D Graham.
The first Irish Short Mat Tour event held in Cookstown Leisure Centre was supported by the Good Relations branch of Cookstown Council.
This was the first event of its type organised in Ireland and drew a capacity 256 entries, the event officially opened by Chairman of Cookstown Council Pearce McAleer with by Good Relations Officer Sean McElhatton and Councillor Tony Quinn.
Councillor McAleer welcomed everyone to the event and highlighted the centrality of the venue and the sporting facilities within the Cookstown area. Each of the four nights saw 64 players compete in groups of four with each playing three games.
The format proved to be an outstanding success with players from Donegal, Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Down, Antrim, Louth, Monaghan, Meath and Armagh taking part.
Players from the 16 nightly groups qualified for the finals night when play was on a straight knockout basis. Play was of a very high standard as they competed for prizes to the value of £1600.
In the group stages a totally open draw was used which saw husband and wives and brothers playing each other. At the stage of the last 16, two of the favourites Kevin Conroy and Andrew Leckey were eliminated while in a quarter final Sean Trainor proved just too good for brother Martin.
In the semi finals another favourite Alan Paul lost to Sean Trainor while Sean Conroy lost to Monaghan’s Brendan Magennis. The final was of a very high standard with Trainor leading 7 – 6 going into the last end.
After all bowls were delivered a measure could not separate the opposing bowls leaving Trainor the winner and the recipient of a £500 voucher with the runner up receiving £300. It is planned to make the Cookstown centre a base next season.