Tight race at the top as lead is shared after round three of Winter League

Philip Strong's Team Three are joint leaders of the Winter League.
Philip Strong's Team Three are joint leaders of the Winter League.

Round three of the Winter League was eventually completed at the third attempt and two teams now share the lead, Dougie Stevenson’s Team Seven and Philip Strong’s Team Three.

Team Seven scored 293 points in round three for their 10 best cards. That was good enough for fourth place in the round and they picked up five points. Their running total is 14.5 points, level with team three.

They had five scores in the 30’s, B. J. Mc Anarney 33, Tom Mulholland 32, Mel Hamill 32, Darren Barker 32 and Aidy McEvoy 31.

The scores of Philip Mallon 28, Bobby Geddis 27, Joe Whiteside 27, Verdun Bond 26 and Dougie Stevenson 25 also counted.

Mel Hamill is one of only two players to have scored in the 30’s each round. The other one is Kenny Arlow of team three.

Team 7 was my prediction to win the league and they are going the right way about achieving just that.

Team Three scored 298 points in round three for their best 10 cards. That was the second best team score and they gained six points. That raised their running total to 14.5 points and they jumped from third place to joint top.

They had six scores in the 30’s and that really helped their cause.

Bill McCandless lead the way with a superb 37 points and Michael Robinson 33, Neville Kerr 32, Colin Kennedy 31, Kenny Arlow 31 and Philip Strong 30 followed him.

The other four counting scores came from John Convery 28, Sam Wilkinson 28, Danny O’Boyle 25 and Niall Parfitt 23.

Kenny Arlow is their star player with three scores of 30, 32 and 31 points.

Team Two, captained by Sean Quinn, scored 299 points in round three, the best total of the round.

That gave them the maximum seven team points and their running total went up to 13 points. They moved up from sixth place to joint third.

They too had six scores in the 30’s with Cathal O’Neill the top player with 36 points.

Then came Nigel Bryson 35, Lyle Rea 33, Peter Cruikshanks 31, Sean Quinn 31 and Alan McVey 30.

Add those scores to Tom Nelson 28, Seamus McGrath 25, John Poots 25 and Brian Parkes 25 and you get the wonderful total of 299 points.

Team Four captained by Gerry Blevins, have led the winter league for the first two rounds. They faded somewhat in round three. Their 10 best scores totalled 287 and that was only good enough to get them 3 team points. They now have the grand total of 13 points and they have dropped down to joint third place.

Malcolm Russell 34, Eamon McAnarney 32 and Gary Hazley 31, Peter Hillen 29, Alan McGowan 29, Norman Doak 29, Ashton Clydesdale 27, Gerry Blevins 26, Kyle Buchanan 25 and Cathal McNiff 25.

Team One, captained by Johnny McKinstry, managed a team total of 288 points in round three. That was fourth best and they added four points to their running total that goes up to 12 points and they are now in fifth place.

Team captain, Johnny McKinstry, led from the front with 34 points.

Brian Knox also had 34 points and then came Kenny Baines 31, Neil Clydesdale 30, Gareth Martin 29, John Redpath 29, Joe Glass 27, Paul Faulkner 26, Robin Jardine 26 and Felix Duffy 22.

Team Five captained by Kieran McGreevey, continue their freefall down the winter league table. They were in second place after the opening round and they now find themselves in sixth place.

Their 10 best cards in round three added up to 285 points. This was the second lowest score and they only got two points to add to their team total. That total now stands at nine points.

Brian Henning was their top scorer in round three with 32 points.

Patrick McAleenan 31, Jeffrey Brown 30 and P.J. Johnson 30 were the only other players to reach the 30 points mark.

Gordon Enderson 29, Tony Lunney 28, Sean McGreevey 27, Kieran McGreevey 27, Declan Dooher 26 and Roland Harwood 25 were the other counting scores.

Round Four will be crucial for Team Five.

Team Six, captained by Alan Close, are bottom of the winter league table after three rounds. Alan’s team scored 264 points in round three for their 10 best cards. This was the lowest score and they only got one point. Their current team total is nine points.

Vaughan Lamont 32, Colin McKinney 32, Ian craven 30 and Albert Morrison 30 are above reproach as a score in the 30’s is always excellent.

Alan Close 28, Norman Robb 26, Mark McCullough 26, Joe Thompson 23, Gary McCormick 20 and Ainsley Murray 17 were the other counting scores.