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Wilson is staying focused as Braid turn up title heat

By David Mason

Ballymena hardened their challenge at the top end of the Private Greens League Division One table following a crushing 26-shot win over Old Bleach on Saturday.

Although the Sky Blues still trail Dunbarton by four points, crucially, they have played two games fewer than the ailing Gilford team, who fell to a heavy home defeat by title holders Belmont.

The Belfast boys, who trail the Braidmen by only half a point, also have a two-game advantage on Dunbarton.

"There is still a long way to go," said Ballymena's Graham Wilson.

"We've managed to build up a bit of momentum, having lost only once in the league.

"Dunbarton are still in pole position, but Belmont and ourselves both have two games to try and make up a bit of ground on them.

"It's crucial we pick up as many points as possible from those fixtures.

"We have got ourselves into a good position, but we have to remember that's all it is at this stage of the campaign."

It was the rink skipped by Nigel Robinson who stole the show against the Bleach Boys.

They racked up an impressive 24-14 victory over Stephen Kirkwood's combination.

Andy Morrison, Jim Baker and Andy Duncan guaranteed the home team a full quota of points with respective victories against Robert Kirkwood (17-16), Neil Mulholland (19-13) and Michael Nutt (26-18).

Meanwhile, title holders Michael Fay and Billy Shand, from Londonderry Park, were dumped out of the pairs competition at the Bangor Bowls Tournament, backed by Ards and North Down Borough Council, at Ward Park on Saturday.

Their shock defeat has left the door wide open for Ireland international duo Gary Kelly and Graeme McKee, who now find themselves the clear favourites to lift the silverware, although Keith Taylor and Rodney McCutcheon have also booked their place in Wednesday's quarter-finals.

The Fours discipline is due to get under way today, with the singles taking pride of place tomorrow.

Results: NI Private Greens League Division One: Ballymena 86 (7) Old Bleach 60 (0), Dunbarton 57 (1) Belmont 79 (6), Ewarts 85 (5) Mossley 82 (2).

NIPGL Division Two: Cliftonville 112 (6.5) Shaftesbury 53 (0.5), Ards 78 (5.5) Forth River 70 (1.5), Salisbury 69 (2) Ballywalter 80 (5).

NIPGL Division Three: Pickie 120 (7) PSNI 42.25 (0), Downpatrick 82 (6) Knock 52 (1), Comber 64 (1) Belmont B 75 (6), Cavehill 74 (5) Saintfield 64 (2), North Belfast 83 (5) Shorts 67 (2).

NIPGL Division Four: Old Bleach B 74 (2) Ballymena C 88 (5), Larne B 71 (3.5) Ards B 71 (3.5), Belmont C 63 (1) Dunbarton B 71.25 (6), Falls B 89 (7) Ewarts B 53 (0).

NI Provincial Bowling Association Senior League: City of Derry 72 (1) Coleraine 86 (6), Ballycastle 61 (1) Cookstown 100 (6), Limavady 84 (6) Portrush 68 (1), Dunluce 92 (6) Portglenone 64 (1).

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