Vital win for B team at top of the table

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LURGAN B 77(5) BETS 66(2)

THE Lurgan B team had a vital win last Saturday afternoon.

They collected five league points against a challenging Bangor-based team BETS who were lying fourth in division six. After five ends Lurgan B were eight shots behind but at the halfway point only to shots separated the teams with the home team in the lead.

However after 15 ends the lead was switched with Lurgan B finding themselves two shots adrift at 52-50 to the visitors, but the home team accepted the challenge and produced one of their usual strong finishes to win the match by 11 shots to remain second in the league to Warrenpoint.

On the day Bobby Jones (skip), Dan Dempsey, Jeffrey McCullough and Bobby Livingstone, on rink one, encountered a defiant BETS four skipped by Billy Faulkner.

Jones’s rink took the first end by a shot but dropped nine shots in the next four ends to trail 9-1 after the fifth end. Even though they gained a triple-shot win on the next end and a single shot win at the ninth end they were unable to provide an adequate challenge.

They were the losers on a number of tightly fought ends and were unfortunate to be 17-7 down after the 13th end and were even further behind having dropped six shots on the 14th and 15th ends. Realising that a Lurgan B win was in the balance they fought back well to win the next three ends and collect eight valuable shots to reduce the visitors’ lead to 23-18. However the BETS rink emerged winners by 26-15.

On two Gordon Bell’s rink, comprising Wilfie McCullough, Charlie Maguire and Vincent Devlin, made a cautious start against the BETS rink skipped by Billy Fox with the score being all square at 8-8 after five ends.

It was still close with winning ends being traded and only one shot dividing the teams by the 16th end with the score 13-12. However Bell urged his rink to take control to produce a super finish, which included a great five-shot win on the 17th end and another seven shots off the final three ends, to win 25-15 and collect a crucial rink point.

David Millar (skip), Dick McClune, Declan McCabrey and Gerry Stewart on rink three put up a good fight against Harry Thomas’s BETS rink.

Having won the first end by a shot they lost by single shots on what were very close ends to be behind 7-1 after six ends. However Millar encouraged his rink to respond which resulted in them reducing the lead to 7-5 by the ninth end and then lift three shots on the 11th end to square the game at 8-8.

The game was still very close at the three-quarter point with score 10-10 and it remained a tight tussle with Millar’s men going all out for a rink point. By the 18th end just one shot separated the opposing rinks with the game being in Thomas’s favour at 12-11. But the visitors went for a strong finish and eventually won the rink 17-11 to deny Millar’s rink a valuable point.

After a shaky start on rink four with Sam Neill (skip), Derek Henderson, Rodney McCarthy and Melvyn Hamilton facing a BETS rink skipped by Jackie Hagan, they soon settled down.

Having surprised the visitors by collecting six shots at the fifth end and a triple-shot on the next they led 12-4 after the sixth end. They dropped a shot on the next end but from then on they totally dominated the rink to which Hagan’s men had no answer.

By the 12th end Neill’s rink took another seven shots and extended their lead to an unassailable 19-5. They never lost sight of their objective to keep in touch with the losing rink one and to try to exceed the deficit to ensure a Lurgan B win.

Neill’s rink dropped another shot on the 13th end but won the next three ends and took their lead to 23-6. They remained in control and eventually won the rink 26-8 to secure, along with Bell’s rink, an overall five point victory to keep their team in touch with league leaders, Warrenpoint who are due play Lurgan B on Wednesday, August 8, in what is likely to be a crucial top of the league clash.