The Western Zone Men’s team have moved into the quarter-finals of the Inter-Zone Shield after a hard fought win against neighbours Mid Tyrone last Saturday.
The first half was witness to Western race into a 15 shot lead, and this proved to be pivotal in deciding the winners of this tie which was played in Ardstraw.
On mat one, Ronnie Stubbs along with Harry Gawley, Daniel Wilson and William Harpur were in top form. They dominated from start to finish against Harry Wilson and came out with a commanding 15-1 win.
Mat two was a tougher test for the Western rink. David Ferguson, David Dickson, Rodney Kelly and Jude Morris were 10-1 down to Rodney Cunningham after four ends and looked to be headed for a heavy defeat, but with Morris playing some crucial bowls over the remainder of the game they clawed their way back to a 15-7 defeat.
Davy Graham’s rink of Trevor Brian, Matthew Ferguson and William Stevenson took on Trevor Vance and provided plenty of trouble for the Tyrone skip. With Ferguson playing his first ever zone game, and Stevenson making the step up to the third position, it was to be an encouraging performance. With Graham himself in top form, the Western rink cruised to a 14-5 win, and this left the away side with a 36-21 advantage at the break.
The second half was a tighter affair.
On mat one, Ally Graham along with Roly Nixon, Norman Noble and Ian McElroy were in a tight contest with William Boggs and trailed 8-5 after six ends.
The mid-Tyrone fight back was further helped by Norman Rutledge leading Gary Burke by 8 shots to 0 after six ends. Derek Gilliland, Gary Brian and Michael McGrade made up the Western rink, and they were to find Rutledge in top form all afternoon.
Karol Bradshaw and his rink were stemming the tide on mat three, and they led by 6 shots to 3 at the same stage in the game against Colin Shortt, but the seventh end in this game was to prove crucial.
With the overall score now at just five in Western’s favour, Bradshaw’s rink of Ivor Armstrong, Eric Doogan and Niall Cox lifted a much needed seven shots to give the travelling team some breathing space, and with Burke also lifting three shots in the same end, it more or less guaranteed Westerns success in the tie. Ally Graham kept things tight and ended up on the wrong side of an 9-11 scoreline, Burke lost three singles over the closing ends to go down by 3-11, but Bradshaw managed to close out a 13-7 win.
Next up for Western is a home game with mid-Antrim on January 9. The Fermanagh side will know that a similar performance may not be enough against a strong mid-Antrim outfit, but will be hoping home advantage will be crucial.