The first round of the Winter League was played in very favourable conditions.
There was no real excuse for poor scores and John McDowell, Philip McCourt and Philip Strong won the three individual prizes with 34 points each.
Gerry Blevins, a Winter League expert, guided his Team Four to the top of the table and he just might be difficult to remove.
The format gives everyone a fighting chance and it only takes a good round or two to lift a team from the bottom to the top. It’s going to be good fun, that’s for sure.
Here is how each team fared in round one.
1. Team Four
Team Four, captained by Gerry Blevins, lead the Winter League after round one.
Their 10 best scores totalled 297 points.
Gerry himself, along with Kyle Buchanan, led the way with 32 each. The team had four more scores in the 30s; Eamon McAnarney 31, Ashton Clydesdale 31, Peter Hillen 30 and Cathal McNiff 30.
Add Malcolm Russell 29, Norman Doak 29, Eamon Galloway 27 and Gary Hazley 26 and Gerry’s team bagged seven points.
2. team five
Team Five, captained by Kieran McGreevey, are in joint second after running up a total of 291 points.
Kerry McCluskey was their top scorer with 33 points. Sean McGreevey 32, PJ Johnston 32 and Tony Lunney 30 also got off to a good start.
Gordon Enderson 29, John J Lennon 29, Roland Harwood 27, Brian Henning 27, Declan Dooher 26, Kieran McGreevey 25 (or Paul McCullough 25) also counted.
This was an excellent opening round, which was a surprise for some of the pundits.
3. TEAM SIX
Team Six, captained by Alan Close, also totalled 291 points for their 10 best cards from round one.
Colin Smylie and Adam Kerr were the top men with 33 points each as Norman Robb had 32 and their captain Alan had 30.
Then came Gary McCormick 29, Ian Craven 29, Vaughan Lamont 28, Joe Thompson 27, Colin McKinney 25 and Albert Morrison 25.
4. TEAM THREE
Team Three, captained by Philip Strong, are in joint fourth. That is despite the absence of their two top players.
They totalled 286 points thanks to Sam Wilkinson 34, Danny O’Boyle 34, Philip Strong 31, John Convery 31, Kenny Arlow 30, Robert Haire 27, Michael Robinson 25, Colin Kennedy 25, Dermot Dawson 23 and Graham Shannon 23.
This team could be one to watch, especially when they get their two top players back.
5. TEAM SEVEN
Team Seven, captained by Dougie Stevenson, were the pre-tournament favourites.
They had a reasonably good opening round but it could have been so much better. One of their top players was absent and another one managed to get himself disqualified for not having his card signed by his marker. It meant they had to include a very low score of 19 points.
Bobby Geddis led the way with 34 points. Verdun Bond 32, Mel Hamill 31, John Crothers 31 and Will Dickson 30 followed suit.
When you add BJ McAnarney 29, Darren Barker 28, Tom Mulholland 27, Aidy McEvoy 25 and John Hanna 19, you get a 286.
6. TEAM TWO
Team Two, captained by Sean Quinn, scored 282 points, just one place off the bottom.
Philip McCourt was their star player with 34 points. Tom Nelson 33 and Cameron Morton 31 also played very well.
Gerry McBrien 29, Sean Quinn 28, Aidan Lavery 28, Nigel Bryson 28, Brian Parkes 25, John Poots 23 and Seamus McGrath 23 were the other counting scores.
7. TEAM ONE
Team One, captained by Johnny McKinstry, lived up to their billing. They were tipped to finish last and they are going the right way about it.
They had the top player in the low section, John McDowell with 34 points and David McAllister got 31 points.
Gareth Martin 29, Joe Glass 28, John Redpath 28, Paul Faulkner 27, Neil Clydesdale 26, Kenny Baines 25, Johnny McKinstry 24 and Brian Knox 23 were the other counting scores.
Their team total of 275 points was bottom of the pile.