East Belfast men facing tough task in title race
Belmont's Davy Hamilton admits his team still have a mountain to climb if they are to reel in Dunbarton at the top of the Private Greens League Division One table.
The East Belfast side remain in the slipstream of their high-flying Gilford rivals following their crucial home win over Ballymena at the weekend, but they are still a whopping 13-and-a-half points adrift.
However, Belmont have played one game less, so if they were to pick up a full quota from their match in hand, the gap would be manageable, with the season only at the halfway point.
Realistically, only Belmont and third place Old Bleach are in a position to put any sort of pressure on Dunbarton. Ballymena's defeat at the weekend snuffed out any lingering hopes of them producing a challenge.
"We are still playing catch-up," said Hamilton. "It was vital to get the win over Ballymena, just to keep us in there. If we were to pick up seven points from our game in hand, then it would perhaps open things up a little bit.
"Dunbarton have set the pace from practically day one, but we are only at the halfway stage, things can turn very quickly in this game. At least, going into the holiday break, we are still in the frame."
Stuart Bennett took top marks for Belmont by skipping his rink to an impressive 31-18 win over the combination skipped by Jim Baker. Raymond Barr also chipped in with a telling 18-15 victory over Stephen Coleman.
But the boys from the Braid made a decent fist of things with Andy Duncan and Nigel Robinson racking up victories against John Boyd (25-14) and Roy Battersby (28-18).
Bangor notched up their second win over Whitehead in the space of 48 hours to race clear at the top of the NIBA Division One table. Bangor's 13-shot win on Saturday put them seven-and-a-half points clear of the current title holders. Gary Scott and Robert Hastings claimed the vital rinks wins, beating Marty McHugh (28-15) and Barry Browne (27-11).
PGL Division One: Larne 80 (1) Picie 87 (6), Belmont 81 (5) Ballymena 78 (2), Dunbarton 109 (6) Falls 54 (1), Salisbury 69 (1) Old Bleach 95 (6), Ballymena B 72 (2) Ewarts 77 (5).
NIBA Division One: Bangor 83 (5) Whitehead 70 (2), Portadown 74 (4.5) Donaghadee 78 (2.5), Banbridge 84 (6) Lurgan 78 (1), Londonderry Park 79 (5.5) Sydenham 75 (1.5), Dundonald 79 (7) Balmoral 63 (0).
Provincial Bowling Association Senior League: Letterkenny 63 (0) Ballymoney 101 (7), Limavady 74 (1) Cookstown 91 (6), Coleraine 94 (7) Dunluce 64 (0).