Surprise defeat hits league title hopes

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1st Ballymacarrett 101 (7 pts) Lurgan B 51 (0 pts)

Lurgan B failed to make a necessary impact in their weekend league fixture on the Ormeau Park green against a determined 1st Ballymacarrett side, who are in the Mike relegation zone of Division 5, losing unexpectedly by a massive 50 shots and denting their hopes of winning the laegue.

Will McCullough on Rink 1 with Rodney McCarthy, Mike Parr and Simon Collins, who had a brilliant first match for the B team, highlighting the success of his effective coaching under Bobby Ruddell and which more of the Lurgan’s players should take advantage of, fought hard against a confident home rink skipped by D Cameron.

Coming from 10-4 down after seven ends, McCullough’s rink was within two shots of the opposition at the midpoint but his rink drifted under renewed pressure to 17-11 down after 17 ends.

McCullough urged his men to lift their game but a strong finish by Cameron’s rink prevented them winning, with his rink losing 17-11.

On Rink 2 Gerry Stewart, skip, Neil Sloan, Michael Steen and Bobby Livingstone strived hard for a vital league point to keep Lurgan B in touch with the league leaders. Stewart’s rink went well in the first half having established a good 14-9 lead after the 12th end against J Warnock’s rink.

His rink upped the tempo and dictated the second half but Stewart’s kept going to be all square at 15-15 after 15 ends.

Warnock’s rink went for victory and took the next five ends to eventually win by 23-16.

Sam Neill, on Rink 3, with Tom Connolly, Stewart Martin and Vincent Devlin had a bruising encounter with W Nixon’s rink who won by the wide margin of 36-14. Three 5-shot and two 4-shot losses damaged any prospect of Neill’s rink bringing home a vital league point. They tried hard to match the opposition, having some success during the middle of their game, but it was not enough to stop a home rink win.

On Rink 4 Derek Henderson, skip, Mel Hamilton, Milne Jones and Bobby Jones found things equally difficult against G Smith’s rink with visitors winning only five ends all afternoon. Henderson’s rink was unfortunate in some respects in that, with the exception of a three ends when they dropped triple shots, most ends were settled by the home rink just getting a shot; but single shot advantages is the process of attrition that widens the gap. That being the case Smith’s rink eventually won 25-8 to deny Lurgan B a vital league point.

Over the years the Ormeau Park greens have never been a happy hunting ground for Lurgan B with the team losing there on occasions in past years but they should still not be deterred in their hunt for league honours. Here’s hoping for good wins against second placed Newry at home next Saturday, Castle B away and at home to Windsor on the last match of the season to finish in the top two.