THE eagerly awaited clash between the big two Cookstown clubs produced a win for the current holders, Cookstown High, a win which did not look likely at half time. Parochial had built up an 11 shot lead and secured two and a half points. Anyone who has witnessed the High’s games on a regular basis will have seen how often they climb back in the second half and this was no different with all three High rinks winning their games.
The decisive win was Alan Paul’s 18 – 1 win giving the High an 11 shot margin and making life more difficult for Parochial in their attempt to reclaim the title. The following night that attempt was almost blown away when they only achieved a win against St Joseph’s with Colm McHugh’s last bowl when with Parochial 21 down and D Grimes lying 2 shots , the ‘eagle’ hit the head, picked up a 3 and won the overall.
The High maintained their unbeaten run with a win at Tamlaght despite being a player short. Elsewhere Lafarge continue to lose games by narrow margins. This time they were 17 down at Maghera at the interval and managed to pull back to all square with one rink finishing the last end only to lose out again.
Tamlaght 40(2) Cookstown High 51.5(9); Cookstown High 53(8.5) Cook Parochial A 42(2.5); Cook Parochial A 46(8) St Joseph’s 45(3); Maghera Pres 50(9) Lafarge 46(2); Cook Parochial B 53(9) Slaughtneil 35(2); Lisnagleer 51(9) Derryloran 41 (2); St Swith Mixed 48(9) Molesworth 28(2); 1st Magh 67(10) St John’s 37(1)
Mid Ulster travelled to Donegal keen to make up for last season’s surprise defeat. With nationals and league games everyone was better prepared than last season and travelled with the expectation of coming home successful. As it turned out it was virtually a repeat of the game two years ago at the same venue when Mid Ulster had a comfortable win.
The team showed 8 positional changes to that which defeated Western with most seeming to have worked. On mat 1 a new formation of D McElroy, S Kyne, G Smith and R Clark paved the way for a half time lead with a 15 – 6 win over D McClintock. It was a game which the Mid Ulster rink dominated from start to finish and the margin could have been much greater with the Donegal skip burning ends with a four and five against him and Mid Ulster just missing out on picking up a 7 on the 9th end.
On Mat 2 M Wilson, T Turkington, S Davidson and B Kyne had a tighter game against P McGee, level after 7 ends but picking up four shots on the last two ends to win 11 – 9 and again the margin of victory could have been greater.
On mat 3, S Quinn, D McStravock, A Bradley and S McGlinchey faced the very confident P J Gallagher. The game was keenly fought with just one shot separating the two rinks after 8 ends. The Mid Ulster rink picked up four shots on the last two ends to finish 10 – 5 up and give the team a 16 shot interval lead. The first couple of ends in the second half were crucial to both sides. On mat 1 Colum McHugh, T Johnston, G Merron and D McAllister faced Donegal’s strongest rink skipped by E Curran. It was a game that could easily have gone Donegal’s way
It was a day when the Mid Ulster rink never got their game going and the ‘eagle’ faced several very difficult ends but such is his ability he did the business when needed. The rink were fortunate to finish 6 – 6 when the game was called off after 9 ends. On mat 2, A Paul, C Hill, G Wilson and N Barnes played A Steele who bowl last season with six against him probably won the game for Donegal. This time little separated the rinks with the lead changing every end. After 9 ends it was all-square but a four saw the Mid Ulster rink home by 11 – 7.
On mat 3, D Jordan, L McHugh, D Grimes and C Hogg played J Quinn. The Mid Ulster rink picked up a six on the third end to lead 6 – 2 only to drop a four on the next end. Another four saw Mid Ulster move into a 10 – 7 lead and they never looked back after that though Quinn did have a chance of picking up a four on the 9th end only to push an opposing bowl in for shot. This was a much improved performance on the Western game and there is still more to come. If the team can continue to show the same improvement and determination and not underestimate North Down there is no reason why they cannot contest another final against Oriel or Lisburn.
The ladies play a local derby in the plate semi final on Saturday 21st in the Assembley Rooms, Moneymore starting 2pm.