Greenhills off to a flyer in tough Oriel Zone opener
GREENHILLS made a winning start to their Oriel Zone Division 2 League campaign at home to a full-strength Magheracloone last week.
The format this season is Singles, Pairs Trips and Rinks, played over nine ends and 11 ends respectively under IIBA rules, and in the singles match Tom Devin started the game against Greg Marron with real purpose, taking the first three ends on the spin to go four up.
Greg was struggling to get the grip of the fast mat and he lost further ground to his opponent in the fifth end, now trailing by five. However, he gradually got into his rhythm in the next end, picking up one shot in the process, and by the completion of the seventh end he trailed by just two.
Tom was struggling at this stage but attacked the head in the ninth end to increase his lead to four with two ends to play.
Greg knew he had an uphill battle on his hands to produce something special, but he did just that. After calling a short jack he played a variety of glorious shots in the last two ends to emerge the winner by three shots.
In the pairs match Ciara Floyd and John Hurley clashed over 11 ends with Nigel Eakins and Barry Marron and the latter pair adjusted to the mat straightaway in the first two ends to go two up.
The home team skip Ciara produced a cracker of a forehand into the head, cutting the deficit down to one, and after five ends the Greenhills pair had turned it around to lead by three.
The visitors’ skip Nigel reacted well in the sixth end, exerting heavy pressure to level the match, but Ciara and John responded in kind with some superb draw shots to the head to go three up once more.
Nigel’s team weathered the storm and showed great mental strength to square the match once again, with two ends remaining. Ciara and John were on the rails, but they were not going to throw in the towel and lead player John produced some top-quality backhand and forehand shots to the head in the latter stages to secure victory in fine style by five shots.
In the trips Alan Thornberry, Val Maguire and Jack Howell were pitted against Angela Mc Gahey, Bernie Hamill and Jim Hanratty, and the host team made their intentions clear in the first two ends, firing into the head to build up a four-shot lead.
The visitors looked very nervous and struggled on the mat but managed to shrink the deficit to two shots after four ends.
However, the host skip Jack’s team produced remarkable draw shots to the jack in the next two ends to increase their lead to five up once again.
The visitors skip Jim’s team fought hard and managed to get the deficit down to two going into the last end, but the host skip rallied the troops and ultimately won the game in fine style by three shots despite some heavy pressure from their opponents throughout.
The final match saw Gertie Griffin, Sophie Thornberry, Peter Woods and Megan Devin up against Peader Slevin, Pat Hamill, Mae Flanagan and Tom Lynch over nine ends.
Megan’s team were making all the early running, opening up a two-shot lead after two ends, but counterpart Tom Lynch was quick to respond and after four ends the Greenhills quartet led by just one.
Megan’s team went on to extend their lead in the next end to four up, but back came Magheracloone and by the completion of the seventh end the gap was back to one shot.
Even better was to follow for the Monaghan outfit as they finished the penultimate end with a oneshot lead.
However Megan’s team produced a timely response as Peter Woods played a fantastic forehand draw shot to the jack to enable his team take victory by four shots in a very tense finish.
Overall, that meant that Greenhills took eight points to Magheracloone’s two, with Gertie Griffin, Peter Woods, Ciara Floyd and Alan Thornberry starring for the winning team.
Members should note that the Cooley Open Pairs is on all this week until Friday, with a starting time of 8pm sharp. If you wish to travel please put your name on the noticeboard.
Times of play this week are Tuesday from 7 to 8.15pm for junior players, and Tuesday and Thursday from 8 to 10.30pm for seniors.