Belfast Telegraph

Whitehead must continue to turn up title pressure, warns McHugh

Bowls

It's a familiar sight at the summit, with only five points separating the league's top two clubs (stock photo)
It's a familiar sight at the summit, with only five points separating the league's top two clubs (stock photo)

By Alex Mills

Title holders Whitehead moved menacingly into the slipstream of NIBA Division One pacesetters Bangor after a runaway 22-shot win over Londonderry Park at Newtownards added another seven points to their kitty.

It's a familiar sight at the summit, with only five points separating the league's top two clubs.

Banbridge did threaten to gatecrash the party with an early-season burst but they were abruptly cut down to size on Saturday by the impressive Seasiders, who returned home with six points following a 24-shot victory at Meeting House Lane.

It's now going to take something special to prevent the title either remaining in east Antrim or moving across Belfast Lough to Bangor.

Whitehead, having paraded the silverware for the past three years, will take nothing for granted as their challenge hots up.

Whitehead's Marty McHugh said: "We'll be taking one game at a time. We were beaten by Bangor earlier in the campaign, but we've got ourselves into a good position again.

"We've now an important week coming up in terms of the knockout competitions. We face Balmoral in the NIBA Senior Cup semi-final in midweek and then have Ballymena B at home in the Irish Cup next week.

"The defeat by Larne in last season's IBA Cup final still hurts, so we must try to put that right. But our focus is on Balmoral."

McHugh was the top performer against Londonderry Park, skipping his rink to a 27-20 win over the combination skipped by John Marshall. But it was an excellent team showing with James Caldwell, Barry Browne and Stephen McKinley all playing a part with victories over Jono Marshall (16-15), Matt Martin (22-20) Michael Smyth (15-13).

Results: Northern Ireland Private Greens League Division One: Ballymena B 53 (1) Dunbarton 103 (6), Belmont 98 (6) Salisbury 60 (1), Larne 90 (6) Falls 67 (1), Pickie 106 (7) Ewart 63 (0), Old Bleach v Ballymena postponed.

Northern Ireland Bowling Association Division One: Portadown v Dundonald postponed, Banbridge 65 (1) Bangor 89 (6), Londonderry Park 68 (0) Whitehead 91 (7), Balmoral 69 (2) Donaghadee 74 (5), Sydenham 79 (6) Lurgan 63 (1).

Northern Ireland Provincial Bowling Association Senior League: Portrush 78 (4) Ballymoney 78 (3), Limavady 89 (4.5) Letterkenny 76 (2.5) , Cookstown 76 (1) Coleraine 78 (6).

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