BOWLS: Coleraine fightback to take the points at City of Derry

Portrush bowler Ian McClure in action last Saturday. CR18-259PL
Portrush bowler Ian McClure in action last Saturday. CR18-259PL

COLERAINE showed some steely resolve to fight back from a deficit after fifteen ends played to pick up six valuable points over north west rivals City of Derry.

Coleraine named an unchanged side from their bitterly disappointing three shot loss to Cookstown in the league opener last week. Coleraine opened up an early lead on the hosts after a good start by Richard McDermott’s rink, however, the tie became a nip and tuck affair as the lead changed hands between the sides on a number of occasions. This was before Coleraine stirred into life in the last third of the game and proved they have added resilience to their game for the second week in a row, narrowly losing out last week after a stirring comeback.

The rink of Mark Mason, Tony Blair, Stephen Brewster and Jonathan Calvin had a hard fought battle with Jim Campbell’s City of Derry foursome as they fell behind early on, before fighting back to take the lead. Going into the last end, the Coleraine lads were a shot up, but disappointingly lost a three to slip to a 19-17 loss.

Over on rink one, Ally Davison had a good battle with Lorenzo Graham, his rink of Paul O’Neill, Peter Irwin and Alan Irwin fought hard to take an early lead in their game. The Foyle side rink pushed the Lodge Road lads all the way and the lead passed hands on a number of occasions, before the Davison four pulled away from their opponents and won 21-14.

Victor Dallas had a hard fought battle with John Louden on rink two, the City of Derry four leading early on, going into a six shot lead. It was a struggle at times for the Coleraine rink of Jordan Dallas, Jim Duncan, David Reilly and Victor Dallas, however they kept it tight before Dallas’ front end began to put real pressure on the opposition.

Counts of five and four were lifted in the closing stages of their game and they ran out 18-14 winners to seal a courageous fightback, having not been at their best. Richard McDermott’s rink banished the memory of their heavy loss to Cookstown as they had a good win over Malcolm Thompson on rink three. Hugh McCallum, Jimmy O’Neill, Basil Kennedy and Richard McDermott came flying out of the traps as they raced into a 14-2 lead, however they were soon pegged back to 14-14 by the Londonderry foursome.

At this stage, you would have forgiven the Coleraine lads for thinking the ghost of the previous week was back to haunt them, but they stood firm and finished up 24-20 winners in their match. That win sealed the six points for the Lodge Road lads and a 13 shot victory was an excellent turnaround, having found themselves eight shots adrift after 15 ends.

The Coleraine side will be very happy with a battling six point haul from this encounter, as they move up to fourth place in the NIPBA Senior League, two and a half points behind leaders Portrush, who came out on top in a terrific battle with Ballymoney.

The hosts won by seven shots over three rinks skipped by Jackie Smyth, who had a good battle with Alastair Steele before winning by three, Ian McClure beat Gary Kelly by 10 and Gary McCloy had a seven shot win over Willie McCaw. Brian McAlary picked up the visitors solitary point as he won by 13 shots over Simon Colvin.

Cookstown hit the ton at home to Ballycastle picking up all seven points and Dunluce also picked up a good home win over Portglenone. Brookgreen lost out by a single shot at home to Limavady.

In Division One there were wins for Portrush B, Ballymoney and Castlerock, but Coleraine B went down by 10 shots in Magherafelt.