Thomas Mackle created history by winning a fourth successive Hurley’s of Midleton King of the Roads at Ballincurrig yesterday.
His win was achieved through brilliant bowling and resolve against a super challenge from Arthur McDonagh.
Dutch champion Silke Tulk denied Kelly Mallon her four-in-a-row in the Global Catering Queen of the Roads.
McDonagh got the worst possible start. He played his first to the left and his second hit a sign leaving him almost a bowl behind to Mackle’s brilliant first shot. From there he dug deep. Mackle raised a bowl after three great shots to the green. He lost momentum with a poor fourth past the creamery and McDonagh hit back with two great bowls to the no-play line to close the gap.
Mackle defended his lead well with four super shots to Leahy’s. He then had a chance to close it out, but his bowl past the elbow was too tight and hopped onto the bank.
McDonagh hit back with a scintillating bowl to clear sight, which won him a slender lead.
Mackle was a shade lucky to make sight with his next, but McDonagh beat it well. Mackle had luck with his next too and they were locked together after 13 to Din Tough’s.
Mackle then played a sensational bowl, with speed and accuracy that almost made sight at the last bend. McDonagh showed his warrior spirit by edging that tip by a few centimetres. Mackle got the better of two good bowls towards the line. McDonagh played a huge loft with his last and reached the end of the green. Mackle replied with a well-played bowl tight left that beat the tip well.
Kelly Mallon looked set to keep both crowns in Ulster when she got an unprecedented opening shot that wound past the bend to the elbow. No score is won in a single shot as Silke Tulk made clear when she delivered a record second shot to win a 5m lead at the sycamores. She was never led again.
After five to the big corner she had almost a bowl. She then got a brush with her next that helped propel her to O’Riordan’s in eight to go almost two in front. Mallon is never beaten though. Despite being in patchy form she had the lead back to a bare bowl after 11 and 12 to the pony’s gate. Her comeback came unstuck when she got a poor shot past the creamery. Tulk drove on and kept the lead at a bowl in 15 and 16 to the corner.
A massive last shot by Suzan Zieverink won the Proto-Mark Technologies Youth International Triple Crown for the Netherlands in a contest that was finely balanced from start to finish.
The German FKV team of 14-year-old Marian Jahnke and Lea-Sophie Oetjen set the early pace going a shot clear in five to the big corner. A big bowl by Geraldine Kiernan from the big corner and great 11th from Ronan Toal to Hegarty’s gave Ireland the lead. Mirco Breuker kept the Netherlands in it with a big second last. Only 13m separated the teams for the last shot. From hind bowl Zieverink played a huge bowl past the school corner.
Wayne Callanan led all the way to victory over Éamon Bowen in the Jim O’Driscoll Cup final. He produced a magnificent 10th shot to the big corner to gain a bowl of odds. Bowen battled back and closed with a series of great bowls, but Callanan held his nerve and won well in the last shot.