Belfast Telegraph

Irish name two debutants for home internationals

By David Mason

Ballymoney's Aaron Tennant and Belmont's Stuart Bennett will make their Ireland debut in the 2014 Home International Series at Leamington Spa later this month.

Both players turned in excellent performances in the IBA Inter-Association Championship over the weekend.

They are the only changes to the team that did exceptionally well in last season's International Championship in Dublin, where the battling Irish were pipped to the title by England.

Tennant and Bennett will both feature in the rink skipped by Ian McClure, who will again captain the team.

"We just missed out on the trophy 12 months ago, so the selectors decided not to tinker with the team too much," said Irish boss Jim Baker.

"Both Aaron and Stuart have been knocking at the door in recent years, so they deserve their opportunity. We'll be travelling to England hoping to go one better than last time."

The International Series will be staged on Saturday and Sunday, June 28-29.

Meanwhile, there was no stopping the Northern Ireland Bowling Association, who roared off with the IBA title on Saturday afternoon, following two days of inter-association action.

They began their campaign with an impressive win over the Provincials on Friday night, gobbling up seven of the nine points on offer.

But they topped that performance the following morning when they completely demolished their big rivals, the Private Greens League – and the nine points put them in the box seat in the race for the title.

They finished the job in style by galloping over the finish following their win over the Bowling League of Ireland, adding another eight points to their tally.

"It was a fantastic performance over the two days," said the NIBA's Stephen Moran.

"We were never behind on any occasion during the three games. To lift 24 of the 27 points on offer was simply outstanding."

Ireland: Rink 1: G Kelly (Ballymoney), R Leonard (St. James Gate), G McKee (Bangor), M McHugh (Whitehead)

Rink 2: A Tennant (Ballymoney), N Robinson (Ballymena), S Bennett (Belmont), I McClure (Portrush)

Rink 3: S Shields (Ballymena), DJ Wilson (Dunbarton), B Browne (Whitehead), N Booth (Old Bleach)

Rink 4: S Martin (Bangor), N Graham (Lisnagarvey), M Wilson (Cookstown), G McCloy (Portrush)

Rink 5: P Daly (Belmont), J Talbot (Old Bleach), A Kyle (Ballymena), B Kane (Dunluce)

Rink 6: M McPeak (Belmont), N Mulholland (Lisnagarvey), R Hastings (Bangor), C Craig (Balmoral)

Results

IBA Inter-association Championship: NIPGL 101 (8) BLI 73 (1): B Thompson 24 C Murphy 16; N Booth 19 B Somers 11; A Kyle 17 R Leonarrd 19; DJ Wilson 20 S Millane 16; J Talbot 21 I Wilson 11.

NIBA 106 (7) NIPBA 84 (2): M McHugh 25 I McClure 11; R Hastings 21 G McCloy 18; N Graham 16 B Kane 21; B Browne 28 G Kelly 11; C Craig 17 B McAlary 23.

NIPGL 84 (0) NIBA 121 (9): J Talbot 8 M McHugh 28; B Thompson 19 C Craig 21; N Booth 16 R Hastings 26; A Kyle 24 B Browne 25; DJ Wilson 17 N Graham 21.

NIPBA 105 (7) BLI 79 (2): I McClure 20 C Murphy 13; G McCloy 15 R Leonard 23; B Kane 28 B Somers 10; G Kelly 15 I Wilson 22; B McAlary 27 S Millane 11.

NIBA 104 (8) BLI 69 (1): N Graham 13 R Maher 21; B Browne 25 S Millane 13; M McHugh 19 B Somers 8; R Hastings 26 I Wilson 10; C Craig 21 R Leonard 17.

NIPGL 92 (2) NIPBA 93 (7): B Thonpson 19 I McClure 22; A Kyle 27 G McCloy 12; DJ Wilson 14 G Kelly 27; N Booth 18 B Kane 14; J Talbot 14 B McAlary 18.

Final placings: 1 NIBA 24pts; 2 NIPBA 16pts; 3 NIPGL 10pts; 4 BLI 4 pts.

Belfast Telegraph

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