The ‘GO’ sponsored Mid Ulster League is in the finishing straight with no issues yet settled. In Section One, the High are hoping that Parochial A will drop points before their clash on 11 March. On current form this looks unlikely.
Parochial have three games - two of which they would be expected to pick up maximum points - thus marking their game with the High one of pride rather than a decider.
The main interest is centred on the relegation places currently occupied by Moortown and Derryloran with Maghera Pres close by. It would seem that these three will fight out the two places with Kildress and Lafarge having done just enough to survive.
Derryloran’s cause was done no good with a defeat at St Mary’s though they did pick up a home win over Moortown. Maghera Pres remain inconsistent with a home win over Derryloran followed by heavy defeat at home to Kildress.
In a mixed time for Lafarge, a home win over Tamlaght was followed by a narrow defeat at Kildress where they fielded seriously understrength. Tamlaght easily retain third spot.
St Mary’s and St Joseph’s have easily retained their top section status. Both met at St Mary’s. The home side had what looked a comfortable 15 shot lead at the break only to see Kildress outscore them by 25 shots as they claimed all three second half games.
In Section Two, Parochial B remain secure in top place, 1st Magherafelt strong favourites to secure second place. It has been an encouraging season for the bottom four club with Ballinderry, St John’s Sperrin and RBL all picking up wins. The longer programme seems to have added a competitive edge to their game.
Section One Table
Cook Par A 14 138½
Cook High 14 126½
Tamlaght 15 98½
St Mary’s 16 82½
St Joseph’s 15 80½
Kildress 16 74½
Lafarge Comm 15 71½
Maghera Pres 15 49½
Moortown 15 46
Derryloran 15 45
Section Two Table
Cook Par B 15 134
1st Magherafelt 15 110
Lisnagleer 15 96½
St Swith Mix 13 92½
John Bosco 14 74½
Molesworth 15 69½
Ballinderry 15 66
St John’s 15 62
Sperrin 15 57
RBL 14 46
The IIBA were invited to Stormont by the Department of Culture, Leisure and Arts. Local Molesworth player, Gladys Simms was the only Mid-Ulster representative in the game.
For Irish Indoor Bowling Association it was a rare opportunity in being asked by the Department of Leisure, Culture and Arts to showcase the game of shortmat bowls in the Great Hall at Stormont.
Minister Carál Ní Chuilín paid tribute to the association in recognizing it as a true community organization which involved individuals at every level in society.
She highlighted the success of the Association at British Isles and World level in winning international games, singles, pairs, triples and rinks.
She noted that the President of the IIBA David Sterritt had hinted at the lack of funding which the Association had received over the years and hoped that this could be addressed.
IIBA President David Sterritt, on behalf of the IIBA, thanked the minister for the invitation to Stormont and said the he hoped the event would help to highlight the significant contribution which the game had made to society particularly during the troubled past.
It was a game, he went on, which crossed all divides in the community, covered all age groups and was one in which creed, colour, political affiliation and physical ability was not relevant.
He outlined that the game had originated in Northern Ireland but that the dominant growth in participation was in Southern Ireland.
He suggested that the IIBA seemed to be the poor relation when it came to funding.
It did not have its own premises in which to base itself and required assistance in developing the game especially at school and youth level.
He hoped that the Minister would look favourably at funding in the future and help the IIBA to continue making a major contribution to society across the entire island.
Brian Henning, Chairman of Sport NI, said that he was delighted to be present at the reception.
He indicated that the game was at the very top as a sport which represents everything sport should represent.
It crossed all divides and involved all sections of society from the age of eight to the 80’s and was one in which creed, culture, sex or background played no part.
It was one Sport NI would be pleased to support and it was something that would have to be seriously looked into.
He wished the association continued success and expressed the hope that it would continue to make a major contribution to society in general.
The introductory speeches were followed by a bowling exhibition with the Minister delivering the first two bowls.
Those taking part were; K Conroy, P Duff, M J O’Connor, J Quinn, G Simms, L Hamilton, P Beattie, J Glackin, E Irwin, D Hamilton, M Howe, M Hurst, T Howe, M McIlvenna, C Middleton, A Tanner, G Moen, B Magennis, P Canning, S Mulholland, J Mullan, J Murnahan, F Dillon and P Conroy.
These players represented the broad range of those who played the game at all levels.