Belfast Telegraph

McHugh admits Bangor are still big favourites in NIBA title race

 

Whitehead turned up the heat in midweek by inching to within one point of Bangor at the top of the Northern Ireland Bowling Association's Division One table. (stock photo)
Whitehead turned up the heat in midweek by inching to within one point of Bangor at the top of the Northern Ireland Bowling Association's Division One table. (stock photo)

By Alex Mills

Whitehead turned up the heat in midweek by inching to within one point of Bangor at the top of the Northern Ireland Bowling Association's Division One table.

In a game rescheduled from June 1, the East Antrim side smuggled a crucial six-and-a-half points from their away fixture at Sydenham.

However, the league leaders have the chance to pull even further away because they still have an outstanding game away at Balmoral looming.

Neither of the top two teams will be in action today because of the IBA Under-25 Inter-Association Championships in Dublin.

However, they will be back on duty on Tuesday night with Bangor making the short trip to Donaghadee and Whitehead due to entertain Dundonald.

"We are still playing catch-up," said Whitehead's Ireland international Marty McHugh, who missed the midweek victory as is he away on a short break. "Bangor are still in pole position.

"They have been the most consistent team so far . . . we've lost only three times and it was against Bangor on each occasion, twice in the league and in the final of the NIBA Senior Cup.

"But there is still a long way to go. It was essential we tagged on to their coat tails by winning at Sydenham. We've still seven games left, so anything can happen."

Dessie Hill stepped in as skip to replace McHugh against Sydenham and he produced the performance of the night by beating Sam McDonald 29-7.

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland Private Greens League will today go on a mission to retain the IBA Under-25 Inter-Association Championship in Dublin.

They lifted the title with a certain degree of panache, but Old Bleach's Stephen Kirkwood insists it will be a difficult act to follow.

"The pressure is all on us," he said. "We are the title holders, so we are the side that everyone wants to beat, but we'll be going to Dublin with confidence and determined to put in a good performance."

FIXTURES

Irish Bowling Association, Under-25 Inter-Association Championship: Northern Ireland Provincial Bowling Association v Bowling League of Ireland: J Whitney v M Jones, C Gillen v A Rankin, K Daly v J Rankin, C O'Brien v M McKeown.

Northern Ireland Bowling Association v Northern Ireland Private Greens League: M Hastings v R Kirkwood, J Moffett v A McKeown, M Albert v S Kirkwood, S Wallace v J Watson.

BLI v NIBA: K Daly v S Wallace, C O'Brien v M Albert, J Whitney v J Moffett, C Gillen v M Hastings.

NIPGL v NIPBA: A McKeown v J Rankin, R Kirkwood v M Jones, J Watson v M McKeown, S Kirkwood v A Rankin.

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