Hastings says momentum key to NIBA victory
Northern Ireland Bowling Association skipper Robert Hastings believes momentum was the key to his team's IBA Inter-Association Championship success at the weekend.
The NIBA experienced a series of mixed emotions before they finally popped the bubbly to celebrate their fourth title parade since 2013.
After making the best possible start with a stunning victory over the Private Greens League on Friday evening at Lodge Road, the NIBA's title challenge appeared to hit the buffers when they fell a shock - albeit narrow - defeat against the Bowling League of Ireland on Saturday morning.
It was Stephen Millane's stunning 28-12 victory over Mark Shannon that helped inch the boys from the south over the finish line - it was their only winning rink.
But the NIBA shrugged off that disappointment on the Limavady green in their final game of the tournament to reel in seven points with an impressive 97-88 win against the Provincials, which guaranteed them the trophy.
"It was a great team performance over the three games," said Bangor man Hastings. "We couldn't have asked for a better start by taking eight points from our opening match against the PGL.
"Although we were disappointed to lose out against the BLI, we were beaten by only five shots and picked up four points after winning on four rinks, so we still had a lot of momentum going into the final game.
"The Coleraine green proved to be tricky enough, but we adapted to the conditions at Limavady.
"We knew it would be a battle against the Provincials because they were still in with a shout of winning the title, but the boys stood firm when questions were asked of them.
"Everyone played a part in what was a great two days for the association."
Results: Irish Bowling Association Inter-Association Championship: NIPBA 111 (8) BLI 78 (1); NIPGL 90 (1) NIBA 113 (8); NIPBA 76 (2) NIPGL 103 (7); BLI 100 (5) NIBA 95 (4); NIPBA 88 (2) NIBA 97 (7); BLI 106 (7) NIPGL 82 (2).
Final positions: 1 NIBA 19pts, 2 BLI 13, 3 NIPBA 12, 4 NIPGL 10.