Thrilling week of Championship Finals plus closure to the outdoor season

Dick McClune, John Gilliland, Derek Henderson and David Millar who won the Lurgan 400 Anniversary Perpetual Trophy
Dick McClune, John Gilliland, Derek Henderson and David Millar who won the Lurgan 400 Anniversary Perpetual Trophy

It was an exciting week of bowling in the Lurgan Club’s Championships finals with all finals being settled by matches going to tied ends in all and spectators being entertained to a high standard bowling throughout.

Orr takes Singles Championship

Charles  Maguire, Club President and Bobby Ruddell, Vice-President welcoming Mrs Rose Skeffington, Director (Lurgan Credit Union, Rinks Competition Sponsors)

Charles Maguire, Club President and Bobby Ruddell, Vice-President welcoming Mrs Rose Skeffington, Director (Lurgan Credit Union, Rinks Competition Sponsors)

On a blustery evening at Lurgan Park Noel Orr defeated Dan Dempsey by two sets to one to win the Men’s Singles Championship to take the John Murphy Trophy.

Having a 9-2 lead at the halfway stage of the first set it seemed that Orr had an unassailable lead. Dempsey, however, had other ideas and fought back but came up

just short with Orr taking the first set by a single shot at 9-8.

Dempsey was now on a bit of a roll and took the second set by 8-6 to up a tie end finale, the first of many during the Finals Week.

John Gilliland, Skip of Winning Rink being presented with the Lurgan 400 Anniversary Perpetual Trophy by Mrs Rose Skeffington, Lurgan Credit Union

John Gilliland, Skip of Winning Rink being presented with the Lurgan 400 Anniversary Perpetual Trophy by Mrs Rose Skeffington, Lurgan Credit Union

Orr claimed the first end with three excellent bowls deciding the match in the second end.

First Orr laid a bowl against the jack.

Then Dempsey drew the lying bowl off to take the shot himself only for Orr’s next bowl to slip in behind the jack and reclaim the shot. Despite Dempsey’s best efforts it was the decisive bowl and it gave Noel Orr the victory in a very competitive match.

Club President. Charlie Maguire presented Noel Orr with the John Murphy in the Pavilion after the match.

Charlie Maguire, Club President lowering the Club Flag to signal the end of the outdoor season assisted by Bobby Ruddell, Vice-President

Charlie Maguire, Club President lowering the Club Flag to signal the end of the outdoor season assisted by Bobby Ruddell, Vice-President

Gilliland and Martin win the Pairs Trophy

On damp and dreary Tuesday evening John Gilliland and Stewart Martin won the “ABC NI Insurance” Open Pairs Championship; defeating Jeff McCullough and Ian

Laughlin by two sets to one.

In a very exciting and thrilling match Gilliland and Martin dominated the first set but McCullough and Laughlin turned the tables in the second set and the match moved into a tie break finish.

In the gathering gloom Gilliland and Martin clinched the match with a superb bowl from Martin in the final tie end. Charlie Maguire, Club President presented the “ABC NI Insurance” Dobbin Cup to happy but damp winners – John Gilliland and Stewart Martin.

Club President skips rink to victory in Hostge Shield

On the third night of Finals Week Charlie Maguire, Luke Donaldson and Ian Laughlin faced Eileen Robson, Rodney McCarthy and Bobby Livingstone in the “Howard

Abraham Motors” Open Triples Final. Yet again spectators were treated to an enthralling encounter that went right to the wire.

Robson’s rink to an early lead in the opening set but as it progressed it became a tight affair with nothing to choose between either side. Maguire’s rink eventually claimed the set in the final end by the narrowest of margins – a single shot.

The second set was almost a carbon copy of the first but this time it was Robson’s rink that took the second set.

So for the third final in a row, the game moved into a tie end finale. Maguire’s rink claimed the honours in the first end but Robson’s rink hit back in the second to set up a grandstand finish.

Donaldson playing at lead on Maguire’s rink left a bowl close to the jack and despite he, Livingstone and McCarthy all coming close, somehow it hung in for the shot.

So it came down to the two skips with Maguire holding his nerve to claim the title and the Hostge Shield.

After the match Charlie Maguire, Luke Donaldson and Ian Laughlin were presented with the Hostge Shield by Melvyn Hamilton, Competitions Committee Member.

Highly competitive Rinks Final

The climax of the week was the Open Rinks Final on Friday for the Lurgan ‘400’ Anniversary Perpetual Trophy sponsored by Lurgan Credit Union Ltd.

Charlie Maguire’s rink of Eileen Robson, Stewart Martin and Vincent Devlin faced off against John Gilliland, Dick McClune, David Millar and Derek Henderson. Between

them they served up a highly competitive match that was a fitting finale to the week.

Gilliland’s rink raced into an unassailable lead early in the first set with some superb bowls by all four. Maguire’s rink could not match them at that stage and lost the first set by 13-4.

The second set was the complete opposite with Maguire’s rink responding to the challenge and taking the set by 12-6.

The first tie end ebbed and flowed but it was Gilliland’s rink who claimed the all important shot. In the second tie end Vincent Devlin, playing lead for Maguire, left a bowl close to the jack. While Gilliland’s rink peppered the jack they were unable to either shift it or get inside it.

Meanwhile Maguire’s rink was playing some great defensive bowls to protect the all important lying bowl. The two skip stepped up. Gilliland’s first bowl was slightly high but managed to shift a blocking bowl. Maguire tried to replace it but was just tight.

Then, with perhaps the best bowl of the evening, Gilliland drew round the crowded head to pick up the jack. Maguire was unable to clear the lying bowl with his last one and Gilliland’s rink claimed the win.

After the match John Gilliland’s rink was presented with the Lurgan ‘400’ Anniversary Perpetual Trophy by Mrs Rose Skeffington, a Director of Lurgan Credit Union Ltd who was match sponsor.

Both teams would like to thank Gwen Hayes and her team for the excellent light supper after the match.

Outdoor season draws to a close

Closing day for the Lurgan outdoor club was last Saturday afternoon in glorious sunshine and the Park looking at its best with about 50 bowlers and friends turning up, which was probably the best attendance in years.

It was great to see all rinks in use with the traditional tournament in full swing.

The Gents’ prize was won by John Gilliland; while the Ladies’ went to Eileen Robson.

At the conclusion of the rinks tournament the Club flag was lowered by Charles Maguire, Club President assisted by Bobby Ruddell, Vice-President to signal the end

of the season. After which all enjoyed a sumptuous afternoon tea in the Pavilion prepared by Gwen Hayes and her Catering Team.

Next season will be a very busy year for the Lurgan Club who will be greatly involved with Dan Dempsey who has the honour of being the President of the Irish Bowling Association which covers the whole of Ireland; especially with the unfurling of the Association Flag at the Green in April.

The Lurgan Club is indebted to its sponsors for their generosity this year.

They are: Lurgan Credit Union Ltd, ABC Insurance NI, Howard Abraham Motors, MCS Fuels, Decor 8, Ronnie Russell Funeral Services, Trader D, Patterson Graphics and Dawson Manufacturing and Engineering.