Bowls: Provincials are determined to hold on to their title
Provincial skipper Gary Kelly insists that both he and his team have no intentions of relinquishing their IBA U25 Inter-Association Championship over the weekend. They begin the defence of the title against the Private Greens League at Belmont tonight.
The Provincial selectors were forced to reshuffle their pack after losing a chunk of the squad which paraded the trophy 12 months ago.
It means they'll have four new boys on show – Cookstown's Aaron Ward, Anthony Clyde, from Dunluce, Portglenone's Andrew Millar and Coleraine's Owen Steele.
Also included for the first time are Michael Gallagher (Letterkenny) and Portglenone's Adam Jones, who are on the reserve panel.
"We may have lost a few experienced boys, but we can still be a force in this tournament," said Kelly. "We won the title against all the odds last season and we are determined to hold on to the crown."
The Provincials lost the influential Simon Colvin and Robert Allen, who both took time out in Australia, while Gareth McClean misses out because of exams and Richard Kincaid is now over age.
Kelly's rink of Mark McCracken, Adam Hunter and Chris Brogan is the only one intact from last year.
Meanwhile, Lisnagarvey's Scott Jess has been drafted into the NIBA team for tonight's clash against the Bowling League of Ireland, also at Belmont.
Tomorrow night (6.30pm): NIBA v BLI; NIPBA v NIPGL.
Saturday morning (9.30am): NIPBA v NIBA; NIPGL v BLI.
Saturday afternoon (2pm): NIBA v NIPGL; NIPBA v BLI.