Northern Zone juniors reach the final stage of Inter-Zone

On Saturday (4 Feb) the Junior team from the Northern Zone travelled to Lisneal in Londonderry to take part in the IIBA Junior Inter-Zone Competition. The competition was played in a round robin format, with teams from North-West, Mid-Antrim and Foyle also participating.

Northern’s first match was against North-West. This turned out to be a very close encounter. Although Northern had 2 rinks up and one down , the overall score finished in a draw, so Northern gained 3 points to North-West’s 2.

Meanwhile on the other side of the hall, Foyle had a convincing 5-0 victory over Mid-Antrim. Next up for Northern was Mid-Antrim. One rink lost by a shot, another drew and the last rink had a comfortable win to secure 3 ½ points for Northern. In the second round Foyle had another decisive win, beating North-West 4 ½ - ½ .

It was now down to the last game. Foyle went into this as favourites with 9½ points to Northern’s 6 ½ , so it was certainly going to take a massive effort by the Northern team to pull it off! The first few ends saw one side in the lead and then the other. By the 9th end Mark Jones’ rink had taken command and were 13 – 5 up.

On the next mat Gareth McConnell’s rink, who had had a shaky start had stormed into an 11-7 lead while Philip Reynold’s rink was 10-9 up. Could Northern hold on to this lead? It was certainly going to be a nail-biting finish, as they needed at least two rinks up and a draw to be assured of victory.

With Mark Jones picking up another 2 and Gareth McConnell lifting a 5, all eyes were on Philip Reynolds. He couldn’t afford to lose more than one shot but with Philip only having his last bowl to play, there were 4 shots against him and the jack was in the ditch. As everyone held their breath, he calmly drew his last bowl to lie the shot and send Northern into the finals of the Junior Zone Competition for the first time.

Team members were: Billy Hickinson, Matthew Clyde, Anthony Clyde, Gareth McConnell, David McConnell, Jamie Forsythe, Amy Hunter, Mark Jones, Cahir Loftus, Shea Martin, David Stirling and Philip Reynolds.

The final stages of the competition will take place in Ballybrakes stadium on Saturday 25th February at 12’oclock.

Team for Men’s Inter-Zone Competition

The Northern Zone Men’s Team will play Mid-Antrim in the final of the Plate competition on Saturday 11th February 2012 at 2.00pm, in Killymurris Presbyterian Church Hall. Players should be in the hall by 1.30pm.

Dress is grey and whites and spectators will be very welcome to come along and support our men’s team.

Any player not available to play should contact Edwin Irwin: Tel: 70352261 or 07732646566

The team is as follows:

Rink1: W. Calvin, Ballinrees, D. Reilly, A. Irwin, I. Ross, Loughanreagh

Rink 2: G. Steele, Loughanreagh, G. O’Kane, Loughanreagh, T. Workman, Moneydig A. Steele, Loughanreagh

Rink 3: N.McMullan, Loughanreagh, M. Shaw, Dunloy, D. McCann, St Mary’s C. Jones, Finvoy

Rink4: M. Minihan, St. Pat’s Portrush, A. Cassley, St Mary’s, J. Martin, Marian, B. McAlary, Marian

Rink 5: J. Elder New Row, G. McCloy, Finvoy, N. Gamble, Loughanreagh, J. Calvin, Ballinrees

Rink 6: J.McKee, Loughanreagh, L.McIntyre, U. Gordon, Ballinrees, E. Irwin, Loughanreagh

Subs: M. Jones, Finvoy, W. McCaw, Marian, G. McConnell, Burnside, P. Reynolds, Garvagh & District, O. Steele, Loughanreagh.