BARRY Athletic first team went into last weekend knowing it would be a pivotal one if they were to keep up their push for promotion, with two tough away games taking place.
First up for the stags was a trip to Whitchurch Hospital, who they had defeated by some 35 shots just a week before. This match proved to be a lot closer though as the Athletic had to battle against courageous opponents in windy conditions. The game was evenly poised for the majority of the game but Athletic just managed to pull away towards the end to win by 7 shots and pick up a valuable 10 points in the process.
Top rink honours for Barry fell to Louis Peters, Dan Jones, Geoff Whittaker and Glyn Thomas who defeated Ken Lewis and his rink by eight shots. The other winning rink for the away team was skipped by Martin Clarke who beat the quartet skipped by Bob Richards, 19-15. The rinks skipped by Robert Horgan and David Wright went down narrowly, losing by three shots and two shots respectively to Mark Letman and Richard Osborne respectively.
T Bishop, C Wright, P Rogers and R Horgan 15-18 L Peters, D Jones, G Whittaker and G Thomas 20-12 J Beanland, J Killin, K Harris and M Clarke 19-15 D Snelling, P Killin, B Parrish and D Wright 12-14 Barry Athletic (10) 66-59 (4) Whitchurch Hospital There was no time for this hard earned victory to be celebrated though at attention soon turned to another tough encounter away to promotion rivals Llanbradach on Sunday in a game played in nicer conditions but on a tricky green.
Barry went into the game missing a number of first team regulars due to work and holidays and initially, It looked like their presence would cost The stags the victory they craved, as they trailed the hosts by 27 shots at around the half way stage with Martin Clarke and his rink 15-1 down at one stage to the much experienced Steve Jackson.
Barry managed to find their fighting spirit of yesteryear though as they produced an incredible second half performance, energised by that rink skipped by Clarke which also contained Jack Beanland, 14 year old Jack Killin and captain Kristian Harris, who came back to take top rink honours and win 24-18 to leave Jackson and co shell shocked.
The other three rinks also managed to come back strongly and get the better of their opposition. Glyn Thomas quartet was involved in a nip and tuck battle before managing to hold off the Llanbradach four skipped by Junior International Liam Bouse by a single shot.
Another superb rink performance was provided by the Athletic rink skipped by Ben Parrish, his maiden appearance in that position for the club, who defeated Mark Jackson and his team by two shots in a high scoring game. Parrish, playing a superb bowl on the last end to secure victory for his rink. The other comeback came from the away rink skipped by Robert Horgan, who battled back from an early 8-1 deficit, against the home rink skipped by Junior international, Rhys Jackson, to hit form and secure a 5 shot victory, picking up a full house count of eight shots along the way.
An incredible victory for The Athletic in a game they looked dead n buried in after just 9 ends and picking up the maximum 14 points in the process gives them real belief they can make an immediate return to the top division of the Private Greens after last year’s disappointing relegation.
T Bishop, C Wright, P Rogers and R Horgan 23-18 J Beanland, J Killin, K Harris and M Clarke 24-18 D Snelling, P Killin, P Webley and B Parrish 27-25 L Peters, G Jones, G Whittaker and G Thomas 21-20
Barry Athletic (14) 95-81 (0) Llanbradach Barry Athletic second team were also in action this weekend as they faced a home encounter against Rhiwbina. With the hosts being secured of another season in the top division of PG2 they appeared to take their foot off the pedal as they fell to a disappointing defeat and only picking up 3 points in the process.
Two of the three points were secured by Eric Booker, Alan Thomas, Mike Vaughan and Colin Spillane who battled back from a 13-2 deficit after six ends to only drop another four shots on their way to securing a 19-17 victory. The home rink skipped by the vastly experienced Paul Webley should have secured another two points for the home side when they led 19-14 with two ends to play, but a count of four shots and single against on the last two ends meant the points were shared on this rink.
The rink loss suffered by Albert Mintern and co proved to be the difference in this game as they never got into their stride and losing by 17 shots in the process. The final rink, skipped by DK Williams also lost their way towards the final third of the game as they lost 26 shots to 18, despite leading 18-12 after 13 ends.
A disappointing loss for Captain Gary Jones and his men but they will be more than happy to have secured survival with a few games to spare after a disappointing start to the season. They will look to impress in the few games remaining this season before hopefully kicking on towards the top end of the division next season.
C Phillips, I Stevenson, G Jones and P Webley 19-19 S Mckernan, A Cooper, B Summerbell and A Mintern 9-26 E Booker, A Thomas, M Vaughan and C Spillane 19-17 D Evans, D Coombes, J Davies and DK Williams 18-26
Barry Athletic (3) 65-88 (11) Rhiwbina