Belfast Telegraph

Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's Poland opener makes impact on Whitehead's title challenge

By David Mason

Football-mad brothers Nigel and Stephen Beggs will miss Whitehead's NIBA top of the table bowls clash with Bangor tomorrow.

Instead of lining out at Islandmagee Road in what is a crucial Division One fixture, the boys will be on their way to France for the 2016 European Championships.

It means the home team and current title holders must reshuffle their pack against a side that has yet to taste defeat this season.

High-flying Bangor sit proudly at the top of the table, only half-a-point ahead of their hosts, but they know victory would give them a huge psychological advantage for the remainder of the campaign.

"It's a big game for both teams," said Bangor's Robert Hastings. "We are the two form teams in the league, so it has the makings of a great match.

"We'll be at full strength, with the added bonus of having Keith Taylor back in the squad. He missed the opening part of the season after undergoing surgery. He will be a big plus for us."

Whitehead have suffered only one defeat, surprisingly slipping up at Portadown earlier in the campaign. But they demonstrated in their midweek win at Dundonald, who are notoriously difficult to beat on their home green, that they are are now back in business.

"We'll certainly miss the Beggs' boys," said Stephen Moran. "They've had their trip booked for some time . . . I'm sure we'll not be the only team affected by the Euros.

"It's always tough against Bangor and this will be no different, but we are treating it just like any other game."

Meanwhile, Dunbarton will be big favourites to retain their lead at the top of the PGL Division One table when they travel to Jordanstown to face bottom side Ulster Transport, who are still looking for their first win of the campaign.

Fixtures NIPGL Division One: Ulster Transport v Dunbarton, Ballymena v NICS, Old Bleach v Ewarts, Larne v Pickie, Belmont v Mossley.

NIBA Division One: Donaghadee v Divis, Balmoral v Dundonald, Whitehead v Bangor, Banbridge v Lisnagarvey, Portadown v Dromore.

NIPBA Senior League: Coleraine v Portrush, Limavady v Ballymoney, Ballycastle v Dunluce, City of Derry v Letterkenny, Portglenone v Cookstown.

Belfast Telegraph