Mid Ulster made it a successful eighth appearance in the British Top Team competition with a comprehensive win over England’s representatives, Cheshire and Wales representatives, Swansea.
Cheshire had claimed the title in 2011 when Northern Zone represented Ireland, but this time they and Swansea were completely overwhelmed by a Mid Ulster side who never looked in danger of losing.
Such was their superiority that victory was gained with two of the six games still to play.
Mid Ulster started off with the individual series against Swansea. In the singles Alan Paul was drawn against World Singles champion Steve Williams in what was expected to be a keenly fought contest, but Williams was totally outclassed in a heavy 25-7 defeat.
Danny McStravock won his singles 16-10. In the pairs Clarke Hill and Colin Hogg lost 13-11 while Dayne Jordan and Glen Smith won 19-11. In the triples Colum McHugh, Liam McHugh and Tommy Johnston won 25-4 while Sean Quinn, Sean Davidson and Damian McAllister lost 15-5.
In the rinks Damian McElroy, Seamus Kyne, Damian Grimes and Robin Clarke won 8-4 while Mark Wilson, John McKay, Trevor Turkington and Aaron Ward won 12-4. This gave Mid Ulster 12 of the 16 points.
In the second game England just squeezed out Wales to claim 9 of the 16 points.
Game Three was an international between Mid Ulster and Wales and it was a clean sweep for Mid Ulster. Damian McElroy’s rink won 12-1, Colum McHugh won 17-1, Dayne Jordan won 9-1, Sean Quinn won 14-1, Mark Wilson won 16-1 while Alan Paul completed the win with a 9-1 score.
Game Four was an individual series in which Wales came out on top against England gaining 11 of the 16 points.
In the final game of day one, Mid Ulster knew that a win over Cheshire would make the reclaim of the title almost a formality and they certainly achieved that. Danny McStravock and Alan Paul maintained their singles form with impressive 15-2 and 17-2 wins.
In the pairs the Hill/Hogg and Jordan/Smith combinations also came out on top 20-2 and 12-2. The only points dropped was in the triples where S Quinn, S McGlinchey and G Merron were clearly the better side but somehow lost 12-8 while D McElroy, S Kyne and D Grimes 10-4 down with three ends to go came back strongly to win 12-10. C McHugh and M Wilson’s rinks won 13-2 and 10-2 respectively.
On day two Wales and England started with an international game with Cheshire claiming 9.5 of the 12 points. This was followed by an individual series between Mid Ulster and Cheshire.
This was Mid Ulster’s only tight game with the 16 points shared. In the singles Dayne Jordan was comprehensively beaten 25-3 while Alan Paul continued maintained his record with a 27-2 win. In the pairs M Wilson ands C Hogg won 17-2 while D McStravock and T Johnston went down 15-6. In the triples J McKay, T Turkington and B Kyne let the game slip to an 11-10 defeat while C McHugh, L McHugh and A Bradley lost 10-9.
Both rinks claimed wins with D McElroy, S Kyne, D Grimes and R Clarke winning 19-2 and S Quinn, C Hill, S McGlinchey, and G Merron winning 11-6. This ensured that Mid Ulster could not be caught.
The final two games were academic with Mid Ulster winning 7 of the 8 games against Swansea. Paul and McStravock won both singles with McStravock also claiming the scalp of the world singles champion Steve Williams.
D Jordan and T Johnston won their pairs games 16-2 while the Hill/Hogg combination went down 13-8. In the triples C McHugh, L McHugh and D McAllister won 11-5, and S Quinn, A Bradley and A Ward won 13-2.
In the rinks, McElroy’s rink on 22-2 while Wilson’s rink won 13-2.
The final game was an eagerly waited international between Mid Ulster and Cheshire as is any Ireland/England game. It was a game while Mid Ulster dropped 2 points with Quinn, Jordan, McElroy and Paul’s rink winning.
Mid Ulster finished with 70 points and 575 shots, Cheshire 35.5 and 407 shots with Swansea on 26.5 and 375 shots. It was a top class performance from Mid Ulster and hopefully it will provide a god basis for the upcoming inter zone game with North West. It was a good for AlanPaul, Damian McElroy, Seamus Kyne and Damian Grimes who had a 100% record with 6 wins from their 6 games.