BOWLS: Marian pushing all the way in title race

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WITH only four games remaining, the North West Indoor Bowling League is hotting up to being the closest finish for many years.

The Marian have picked up 20.5 points in their last three games, which means that Dunluce, Loughanreagh and the Marian are now only separated by 8.5 points. However as the top three teams have still to play each other again it looks like the league winners will not be known until the last game has been played.

Dunluce travelled to St. Mary’s and came away with a very welcome 4.5 points thanks to a big win by Alastair McIntyre over Harold Kelly. All the other games were closely contested with honours shared.

At the other end of the table Moneydig overcame their nearest rivals to open up an eight point advantage over Boveedy. However it would appear that with Moneydig still having to play the top three teams they have the hardest run in.

Second Kilrea entertained the in-form Marian but were very unfortunate to come away with no points. Both games in the first half were separated by only one shot when Margaret Johnston lost to Joe Martin 5-6 and Nicky McCaw was beaten by his fellow Northern Zone player, James Martin 9-10.

The second half was also a tight affair with Ivan Smyth going down to Brian McAlary to the same score. The game swung in the Marian’s favour in the final game when Alan Paul lost 6-12 against Willie McCaw.

In the remaining game Loughanreagh had a two points to five points win over Ballinrees away from home.

Division 2 remains tight also with First Coleraine, Montra and Drumreagh only separated by 2.5 points. However with Montra having a game in hand they still appear to be favourites to go up.

First Coleraine travelled to Killowen knowing that nothing less than a win would all but put an end to their League 1 aspirations. Robert Campbell got the visitors off to a good start when he defeated Billy Laverty. On the other mat Billy Boyce brought the scores level when he got the better of Bryan Shaw.

Honours were also shared in the second half but with John Camac’s (1st Coleraine) eight shot win over Sammy McArthur (Killowen) he secured the additional three bonus points.

Castlerock are at a disadvantage now, having to play their home games in St. Paul’s Hall in Articlave. Their own venue was badly damaged during the cold snap at Christmas. On these slower mats they nearly let a 21 shot half time advantage slip when New Row came out in the second half with all guns blazing to cut the deficit to only eight shots.

However Castlerock held on to secure a win. In the other Division 2 game Drumreagh picked up all seven points against Garvagh & District.

All the semi finalists are now known for the E&B Taylor Charity Cup and the Tournament Committee wishes to thank the clubs for making the effort to get the competition to this stage. Although no definite date has been set for the final it is hoped to play it in mid to late March 2011 dependant on the availability of 1st. Coleraine’s hall. Semi finals: Benvarden v St. Colman’s; Loughanreagh v 2nd. Kilrea.