BOWLS: Bannsiders go top after win at Limavady

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Coleraine charged to the top of the NIPBA Senior League table after an excellent 6-1 win over Limavady.

The Lodge Road side were forced into two changes from the side that had a comfortable win in the Coleraine derby, with Peter Irwin and Jimmy O’Neill both unavailable, Keith McGillivray was back in alongside 17-year-old Gareth McConnell, who was making his debut for the Senior side. Limavady would be out to extend their good run of form in the league so far, having won two out of their first three fixtures.

It was an edgy start from both sides as Coleraine opened up an early lead before extending the gap to 24 shots around the half way stage, due in no small part to the rink of Jonny Calvin’s, who led their hosts 15-0 after eight ends. However, the Roesiders began to eat into the Bannsiders substantial lead, with Sammy Corscadden cutting Calvin’s deficit to four shots, as the other Limavady rinks closed in on their opponents.

Coleraine found themselves only five shots up across the green with a third of the game left, but as they have shown throughout the season, the Coleraine side of 2012 are made of stern stuff and they pulled away from their hosts to run out 33 shot winners at Killane Road.

Jonathan Calvin led his rink of Mark Mason, Tony Blair and Stephen Brewster to another big win for the second week in a row. Having opened up an early 15-0 lead, the Coleraine lads were pegged back to 15-11 as their hosts began to close in, but the Calvin rink turned the screw over the last third of the game to run out 29-14 winners.

On rink one, Ally Davison’s four fell to their first defeat of the season as they had a tough battle with Wilfie Moore’s rink. Paul O’Neill, Gareth McConnell, Alan Irwin and Ally fell behind early on before reducing the deficit to three shots at the halfway stage, however, the Coleraine rink lost an unfortunate seven that left them chasing the game and despite a strong finish to their match, the Davison rink fell to a narrow 22-19 defeat.

The rink of Jordan Dallas, Jim Duncan, David Reilly and Victor Dallas got off to a good start in their game against Adrian Barr’s foursome, opening up an 11-3 lead after 10 ends. The Coleraine rink struggled at times with Victor playing vital bowls at the necessary times to maintain their advantage, before they settled down to record a very good 19-12 win over the Limavady rink. On rink four, Richard McDermott’s four continued their resurgence as they had a very good win over Chris Wylie’s rink. Hugh McCallum, Keith McGillivray, Basil Kennedy and Richard fell behind early on before moving through the gears and taking a 10 shot lead after 13 ends. The Roeside foursome tried in vain to get back in the tie as Richard’s men ran out 27-13 winners to complete the job.

Coleraine now move 3.5 points clear of Portrush at the summit of the table, having played one game more than the Seasiders. The Bannsiders have another important week ahead as they face City of Derry at home in the Piggot Cup quarter final on Thursday night, before taking on Portglenone in the league on Saturday at the Lodge Road.