BARRY Athletic slipped to their first defeat of the season against Welsh club champions Ely Valley in Tonyrefail, in what was always going to be a difficult encounter.

The Athletic did manage to claim two points with a rink victory for Glyn Thomas, with Rhodri Phillips and Dan Jones laying a superb foundation for a number of conversion shots by David Wright and Glyn Thomas. A run of seventeen shots over seven early ends set the tone for the game, and built a lead they were never going to surrender, eventually running out victors by 8 shots.

Robert Horgan’s rink suffered at the hands of Welsh International Chris Ashman, with his front end unable to lay the foundation bowls at the front to keep the game tight. The rink slipped to a 15 deficit after six ends and despite picking up a number of single shots over the remaining ends, never really threatened to break down the dominance of the home rink and slipped to a 27-8 defeat.

Both Martin Clarke and Richard Bowen’s rink competed well against their opponents for most of the game. After 16 ends Richard Bowen’s rink with both Gary Jones and Geoff Whittaker out bowling their opponents, led by two shots over Phil Robbins by 13 -11, but the home side managed to win four of the last five ends to secure a six shot victory.

Martin Clarke, with Jack Killin in inspired form and the returning Steve Edwards always close, was always in touch with Paul Taylor, and a five on the 19th end put them in a great position to claim a win; however three shots dropped on the next end made that job just a little too difficult and they eventually returned a losing card by six shots.

Barry Athletic will be rueing 25 shots dropped on the last five ends as very important in terms of the 23 shot defeat and shows how close this game against the Welsh Champions actually was, and will give the Barry team some positives and confidence as they approach the knock out stages of the Carruthers Shield. The side now has a more settled look but with some strong performances from players in the PG2 side, selection for the next match will be keen to fine tune the side before their next encounter.

The PG2 side were in action against their neighbours Penarth Windsor on the 4Wood Green at Barry and recorded their first victory of the season in impressive fashion, winning on all four rinks. Top rink honours went to County President Johnnie Jones who cruised to a 22 shot victory and ably supported by Bill Summerell, Paul Shepherd and Tony Bishop. Also impressing on the day was the rink of Tim Morgan with Lol Paige, Russ Harris and Rowland Fletcher who scored a six and a four against Arty Woodcock’s rink in a 35-19 victory. Winning cards were also returned by Gary Gane and Dave Snelling, winning 21-16 & 28-14 respectively.

As the pace hots up and more players being available, the focus is very much on selection, and the sound victory by the PG2 side, underpinned by impressive performances from a number of individuals will make this job more difficult as players force their way in to selectors’ minds. And with the club’s development side also winning in the Munro Cup match against Sully during the week, competition for places is increasing week on week.

The Athletic players involved in the Vale of Glamorgan County competitions also had a busy week. In the singles victories by Steve Edwards, Chris Wright, David Wright and Martin Clarke ensured a good representation for the club in the second round. In the pairs Richard Bowen and Robert Horgan overcame former Athletic star Matthew Woodcock by a comfortable 10 shot margin after building up an early 13-1 lead on the Penarth Windsor green.

Chris Wright and Steve Edwards were involved in a tight encounter with club colleagues Jack Killin and Tim Morgan and came out victors in a tight match. Martin Clarke and Glyn Thomas, many people’s favourites for the title came through to the second round with a straightforward victory at Sully against Carl Best, and a win also for the Kevin Brookes and Richard Cowling combinations at home on the 4Wood green made sure there will be a great deal of interest in the second round for the Barry Athletic club.

In the seniors competition, Richard Bowen and Richard Cowling made progress in the pairs at Windsor against Dave Rees and then later in the week joined up with club mate Tim Morgan to progress in the triples against a spirited Millwood combination skipped by Peter Taylor.