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Hamilton fired up as Belmont aim to close the gap in title race


By Alex Mills

It's not a title decider, but when Belmont and Dunbarton go head-to-head in east Belfast today, it could provide a fair indication of where the Private Greens League Division One crown will eventually end up.

Something has to give at Belmont Avenue. Current champions Dunbarton are again setting the pace, seven points ahead of Ballymena - both clubs having completed 11 games.

Belmont are only one and a half points adrift of the Sky Blues, but have played one fewer game than the top two.

With Ballymena due to travel to face Ards today - a game that should yield another haul of points - Belmont will be hoping to make home advantage count against the title holders.

Belmont's Davy Hamilton said: "It's a massive match for both sides.

"They don't come much bigger, but it would be unfair to say it's a title decider. There is a long way to go.

"However, it could be labelled as a confidence builder because it would give the victors the momentum going into the last phase after the July break."

Both teams will be under-strength.

Belmont will be missing three key back-end players due to holidays - Stuart Bennett, Tony Budde and Ryan Cavan.

Dunbarton will be minus four players - Chris Trainor, Ryan McElroy, Conor McCartan and Myles Greenfield all miss out.

Dunbarton's Andy Hughes said: "It's difficult at this time of the year because of holidays, but we've a good squad and we'll give it our best shot.

"Both teams are at the top for a reason, it has the makings of a cracking game."

Meanwhile, Ballymoney will look to harden their challenge at the top of the Provincial Bowling Association's Senior League table when they make the trek to basement side Letterkenny today.

Having lost their crown to Portrush last season, Ballymoney have built up an eight-and-a-half-point lead over Coleraine.

Fixtures: Northern Ireland Private Greens League Division One: Ards v Ballymena, Larne v Falls, Belmont v Dunbarton, Pickie v Old Bleach, Ewarts v Ulster Transport.

Northern Ireland Provincial Bowling Association Senior League: Portrush v Cookstown, Limavady v Coleraine, Letterkenny v Ballymoney, Dunluce v Portglenone.

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