Whilst 2013 has not been a vintage year for West Down zone in terms of claiming championships, a number of their bowlers have continued to impress at national and international level.
Jonny Wilson, All Saints Tullylish, having been recalled to the Ireland team in 2012, retained his place for the 2013 British Isles Championships in Coleraine, where he helped Ireland to retain the team championship.
There were also international honours for young Andrew Johnston of St. Patricks, Donaghcloney, who helped Ireland win the team title in the A International Series in Scotland. While no National titles came West Down’s way in 2013, the St. Johns ladies triple of Ann Magee, Bernie Conlon, and Ann Polin were narrowly beaten in the final of their event, and the Wilson brothers, DJ and Jonny lost in the semi-final of the National Pairs to the eventual winners.
At local level, the Windsor Bakery West Down League adopted a new formula, with all teams playing each other once and then splitting into two sections for a further round of fixtures. The new formula was not enough to stop the All Saints juggernaut, the Tullylish team once again dominating the top section, and completing the treble by winning the Down Shoes and Presidents Cups. Ballydougan collected the remaining silverware by winning section two of the league.
As we look ahead towards 2014, two important events dominate the calendar in January. On Saturday 11th, we host Cork zone in a men’s shield game at Loughbrickland Presbyterian Church Hall. Our ladies were the first Northern zone to travel to Cork in 2005, and since then we maintained a close affinity with them. Then on Friday 17th January, we play our National finals at Magherally Parish Hall, with an impressive line up of games in prospect.
Our zone have suffered in recent years from a dearth of junior bowlers. However, a recent session attracted eleven juniors which was very encouraging and provided a lot of hope for the future. Further sessions are being planned and anyone from eight to eighteen years of age wishing to learn the rudiments of the game will be made very welcome.
West Down zone have become firmly established as one of the top six zones in the country over the last ten years, a position they intend to maintain in the coming years.