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Seasiders planning to keep the heat on Whitehead

By David Mason

Having surrendered the NIBA Division One title last season, Bangor's Robert Hastings insists his team are in it for the long haul this time.

The Seasiders climbed to within two-and-a-half points of leaders Whitehead following their midweek demolition of Balmoral, the team occupying third place. With the half-way stage approaching, the title race has already developed into a two-horse confrontation.

And, with basement side Dromore - they have yet to win a game after eight starts - about to host Whitehead and Bangor due to entertain Donaghadee, the top two could gallop even further into the distance come tea time tomorrow night.

"It's a matter of reeling in as many points possible at this time of the season," said Hastings.

"Even at this early stage, the title race appears to be between ourselves and Whitehead. So, it's a case of taking one game at a time."

It was the rinks skipped by Gary Scott and Graham McKee that did the damage against Balmoral, racking up wins against David Nixon (29-11) and Mitchell Albert (27-13). Hastings edged home (17-16) against his former international team-mate Clifford Craig, while Matt Reid earned Balmoral their only point following a 16-11 success against Mark Shannon. Meanwhile, something must give in the big PGL Division Once clash at Gilford between Dunbarton and Old Bleach.

With title holders Belmont - they lifted the trophy last season for the first time since 2000 - hovering in second place, Dunbarton know there is no room for error. Having established a four-and-a-half point lead at the top, the Gilford boys realise the importance of making home advantage count tomorrow.

"Winning home games is paramount in this league - this is a vital fixture as we try to win back the title," said Conor McCartan.

Fixtures, NIPGL Division One: Pickie v Mossley, Ulster Transport v Ballymena, Dunbarton v Old Bleach, NICS v Larne, Ewarts v Belmont.

NIBA Division One: Portadown v Banbridge, Dromore v Whitehead, Lisnagarvey v Balmoral, Bangor v Donaghadee, Divis v Dundonald.

NIPBA Senior League: Dunluce v Ballymoney, Letterkenny v Limavady, Portrush v Ballycastle, Cookstown v City of Derry, Coleraine v Portglenone.

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