Focus turns to first league fixtures

Players and guests from Portadown's outdoor bowls scene on show at the Pleasure Gardens.

Players and guests from Portadown's outdoor bowls scene on show at the Pleasure Gardens.

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Portadown players will step out on to the greens for the first time in this season’s competitive programme when the focus returns to the outdoor scene tomorrow (Saturday).

Representatives from the men and ladies combined for a recent day staged to launch the 2016 summer season at the Pleasure Gardens.

Drew Boyd and Lynda Lyttle, the respective presidents, helped spark another year of play by unfurling the club flag in front of guests that included the Lord Mayor Councillor Darryn Causby and parks manager Noel Mitchell.

Amy Boyd, the granddaughter of the men’s club president, delivered the first bowl of the season in front of over 60 delighted spectators.

The traditional in-house tournament featured success for Winnie Wainwright over Ruby Rowe across the ladies’ section, with Joel Hyde defeating Paul Moffett in the men’s final.

Both presidents offered thanks to the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council greenkeepers for such hard work in preparing the facility.

Thanks also go to Brownlow House Catering for the meal.

“We would welcome interest from any bowlers,” said Boyd. “We would encourage those who do not currently play outdoor bowls to come along to the green and give it a try.

“The day was a big hit, with special thanks also to Kenny Lamond for making rink markers and a stand.

“The kitchen has been upgraded inside the pavilion and provided with a fresh coat of paint by council staff, along with improved decor in the changing rooms and toilets thanks to Maurice Whitla from the club.”

Portadown A will be aiming to improve on last season’s third-place finish across Division One with a positive away performance this weekend in Banbridge.

Portadown B can celebrate promotion into Division Three with a Pleasure Gardens test against Banbridge, the latter having won Division Four.

Aside from the run of friendly fixtures in preparation for the forthcoming campaign, Portadown players have been in the spotlight for a number of reasons.

Richard McMullan has been selected to play in the IBA international team assessment day at Belmont on Sunday, May 15.

Derek McCallion, Mark Sproule and Aidan Corrigan won the short-mat World Triples Championship in England.

The Ireland players managed to progress past nine group games across three days with a clean sweep of wins.

The town men proved too strong for England in the semi-final before a 16-9 success over Wales to wrap up the triples crown.

Portadown will take on last year’s IBA Senior Cup runners-up, Ballymena, in the first round of this season’s competition on May 14.

The Portadown B players can enjoy a first-round IBA Junior Cup bye before a visit to Castle on June 4.

In the NIBA Senior Cup, Portadown have been handed a first-round bye but entertain Dromore in the next stage.

Portadown’s NIBA Junior Cup campaign will mark the visit by Dromore to the Pleasure Gardens.