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Whitehead's title defence off to a flyer with big win

By David Mason

Published 25/04/2016

Cautious: Stephen Moran
Cautious: Stephen Moran

Whitehead roared to an impressive win over Dromore at Islandmagee Road on Saturday, but Stephen Moran admits there will be more challenging days up ahead as they defend their NIBA Division One title.

The east Antrim boys lifted the trophy for the sixth time at a canter last season and, if their opening success is to be used as a yardstick, they'll not be far away again when the medals are handed out in August.

Although Moran, president of the IBA this season, was thrilled with the victory, he knows only too well of the pitfalls that lie in wait.

"Bangor and Banbridge have both improved their squad this season, so they'll be equipped to go the distance," he said. "Greens can be tricky over the first few weeks of the season, so we are just glad to get early points."

Ireland international Marty McHugh began his campaign in explosive form, racking up a 36-14 win against Gavin Clinghan.

Stephen McKinley and Barry Browne also made a significant contribution by beating Billy Clinghan (28-12) and Tom Haire (26-14).

Nathan Haire denied the home team a full house by registering an impressive 23-18 win against James Caldwell.

Bangor also got off to a solid start by chalking up a 15 shots win against Donaghadee at The Commons.

Meanwhile, Dunbarton sent out an early message of intent with a thumping 36 shots win over Old Bleach at Randalstown in their opening match in Division One of the PGL.

Results: NIBA Senior Division One: Donaghadee 70 (2) Bangor 85 (5), Dundonald 107 (6.5) Divis 51 (0.5), Banbridge 72 (5) Portadown 71 (2), Balmoral 86 (7) Lisnagarvey 51 (0), Whitehead 106 (6) Dromore 61 (1).

NI Private Greens League Division One: Ballymena 82 (5) Ulster Transport 67 (2), Belmont 97 (5) Ewarts 61 (2), Mossley 67 (1) Pickie 103 (6), Old Bleach 64 (1) Dunbarton 100 (6).

NI PBA Senior Legue: Portglenone 53 (1) Coleraine 103 (6), City of Derry 64 (1) Cookstown 90 (6), Ballycastle 63 (1) Portrush 80 (6), Ballymoney 107 (7) Dunluce 54 (0).

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