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Whitehead take firm grip in bid to retain title in NIBA Division One

By David Mason

Published 22/08/2016

On a roll: Daniel Donnan competes for Donaghadee against Balmoral
On a roll: Daniel Donnan competes for Donaghadee against Balmoral

Whitehead have propelled themselves into the strongest possible position as they strive to retain the NIBA Division One title.

The champions roared to a 53 shots win over Dundonald at the weekend, picking up a crucial seven points to move to within touching distance of the trophy.

Their nearest challengers, Bangor, travelled to Banbridge to add another six points to their kitty, but with only one game remaining it will probably not be enough to prise the title away from their rivals.

The championship will be decided on the final day of the campaign - when Bangor roll out the welcome mat for Whitehead.

However, Marty McHugh and his colleagues go into that match with a comfortable six-and-a-half points lead at the top, which means they require merely one winning rink to guarantee them the title for another year.

"We are in a good position, but nothing has been won yet," said McHugh.

"We'll be going there to win the game, it's as simple as that.

"It's been a good battle all season, with Bangor and ourselves being out in front for some time."

It was new NIBA singles title holder Stephen McKinley who led the charge - ironically he defeated McHugh in the final a few weeks back.

McKinley racked up an impressive 29-14 win against Colin Orderly. But there were no failures in this Whitehead performance as Barry Browne, James Caldwell and McHugh coasted home against Noel Myles (23-14), Jim Frazer (24-16) and Orderly (29-14).

Bangor now require a mini miracle - and all seven points - to get their hands on the title. They maintained their challenge with a 21 shots win at Banbridge.

Meanwhile, the Ballymoney ribbons were draped on the Provincial Senior League trophy following their runaway 34 shots win at home to Limavady.

With one game remaining, Ballymoney have a 21 shots lead, which has taken them over the finish line.

Results: Northern Ireland Bowling Association Division One: Whitehead 107 (7) Dundonald 54 (0), Banbridge 67 (1) Bangor 78 (6).

Northern Ireland Private Greens League Division One: Old Bleach 71 (2) Pickie 72 (5), Ballymena 90 (7) Ewarts 55 (0), Larne 76 (1.5) Belmont 88 (5.5), Dunbarton 110 (7) Mossley 58 (0).

Northern Ireland Provincial Bowling Association: Ballymoney 96 (7) Limavady 62 (0), Letterkenny 100 (5.5) City of Derry 61 (1.5), Cookstown 81 (6) Portglenone 67 (1).

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