It’s tight at the top of the Banbridge GC Winter League

Gerry Blevins has captained his Team Four to top spot. Can they stay there?
Gerry Blevins has captained his Team Four to top spot. Can they stay there?

With just one round of the Winter League to go, a mere half a point separates the top three.

It’s all set up for a grandstand finish. This is how round five panned out:

Hot on the leaders' heels are Philip Strong's Team Three, just half a point behind.

Hot on the leaders' heels are Philip Strong's Team Three, just half a point behind.

TEAM FOUR

Captained by Gerry Blevins, they regained the lead. Gerry had a very disappointing round himself but thankfully his teammates came good.

Norman Doak was top scorer with 27 points, followed by Colin McDonald 26, Malcolm Russell 24, Eamon Galloway 24, Brendan Magee 24, Merton McDowell 22, Peter Hillen 22, Eamon McAnarney 22, Ashton Clydesdale 22 and Kyle Buchanan 19.

Team Four totalled 232 points, which was the second best team score. That gave them six points, raised their running total to 26 points and they lead by half a point with one round to play.

Dougie Stevenson (right) will fancy his tean's chances. They're joint second.

Dougie Stevenson (right) will fancy his tean's chances. They're joint second.

TEAM SEVEN

Captained by Dougie Stevenson, they are in joint second place in the Winter League with one round to go. They have a total of 25.5 points, only half a point behind the leaders.

Three key players failed to return a card in round five and that could prove costly in the final countdown.

Dougie led from the front with an excellent score of 27 points. Then came John Hanna 25, BJ McAnarney 24, Verdun Bond 24, Bobby Geddis 24, Tom Mulholland 22, Philip Mallon 22, Darren Barker 21, John Crothers 19 and Aidy McEvoy 18.

Albert Morrison (right) was the top scorer in Round Five with 31 points.

Albert Morrison (right) was the top scorer in Round Five with 31 points.

Team Seven were my tip to win and they still can provided they have a full turnout in the final round.

TEAM THREE

Captained by Philip Strong, Team Three are in a very good position. They also have 25.5 points and are in joint second place, only half a point behind the leaders.

They had the best team score in round five. If they can repeat that performance in the final round, they will win the league.

Graham Shannon and Robert Haire were their two top scorers with 27 points each. Then came Bill McCandless 26, Sam Wilkinson 26, Kenny Arlow 25, John Convery 24, Michael Robinson 23, Philip Strong 22, Neville Kerr 20 and Danny O’Boyle 17.

Philip will be looking for a big effort in round six. He doesn’t want any NRs or DQs. That’s a good plan.

TEAM ONE

Captained by Johnny McKinstry, they remain in fourth place, despite only returning nine cards in round five.

Brian Knox had a brilliant score, 28 points. Paul Faulkner 27, Joe Glass 26 and John Redpath 26 were also in great form.

John McDowell 24, Johnny McKinstry 24, Felix Duffy 24 and Robin Jardine 24 couldn’t be faulted for their efforts.

Card number nine came from Kenny Baines with 22 points. All they needed was a tenth card with 13 points in order to top the scoreboard in round five. It didn’t materialise and that was a shame.

TEAM TWO

Captained by Sean Quinn, Team Two remain in fifth place. The fact that they had only nine counting cards instead of 10 certainly didn’t help..

Seamus McGrath had a brilliant score of 29 points. Peter Cruikshanks wasn’t far behind with 27 and John Poots was in good form with 26 points.

Then came Cameron Morton 25, Alan McVey 24, Cathal O’Neill 22, Brian Parkes 21, Sean Quinn 20 and Aidan Lavery 17.

Sean has a very good team on paper but they cannot afford three NRs and two DQs. There were quite a number of DQs in round five, mostly for having no date on their card. Sad!

TEAM FIVE

Captained by Kieran McGreevey, they remain in a lowly sixth position after a rather lacklustre performance in round five.

Kerry McCluskey and Jeffrey Brown led the way with 26 points each.

Sean McGreevey 25, Tony Lunney 25, Patrick McAleenan 24, P.J. Johnston 21, Kieran McGreevey 20, Roland Harwood 19, Declan Dooher 17 and Ronnie Collins 15 all counted towards a team total of 218 points.

One of their better players has been disqualified two weeks in succession. Team Five were in second at one stage but they have fallen away very dramatically.

TEAM SIX

Captained by Alan Close, Team Six look as if they will collect the Wooden Spoon.

They had round five’s top individual player, the great Albert Morrison who scored 31 points over the 11 holes course.

After Albert came Ian Craven 26, Gary McCormick 25, Alan Close 24, Joe Thompson 24, Colin McKinney 24, Colin Smylie 24, Norman Robb 22 and Vaughan Lamont 20.

Where was number 10? Nowhere to be seen.

FINAL ROUND

The sixth and final round will end on Saturday 2nd January with the Winter League Dinner to follow on Saturday January 9th.