Holders, Oriel, slumped to an embarrassing defeat to Armagh in their opening defence of the Irish Indoor Bowling Association’s Women’s Inter-zone trophy at Richhill.
Oriel lifted the McElroy Cup for only the third time last February, ironically by beating Armagh in the final, but there was never any chance of a repeat performance as they were beaten by a whopping 44 shots.
“It just didn’t happen for us on the day,” said Oriel convener Gerry McO’Hare. “We started badly and got worst as the game went on. Armagh were just too good.”
Armagh had the game done and dusted by the half way stage, as they had built up a massive 20 shots advantage. Elizabeth Smyth was their top performer on the opening mats. She skipped her rink to an impressive 21-3 win over Gill Roullier.
Rachael Cassells enjoyed a 9-7 victory against Bernie Cunningham, while Rachel Brennan produced Oriel’s best spell by grinding out a 9-9 in her game with May Cassells.
It was all one-way traffic in the second half. Pauline Beattie led the charge with a thumping 13-2 success against Carol McMahon.
Flo McNally bagged a count of seven on the last end in her game with Emma Colgan, which earned her a 16-5 win and Catherine McMillen completed the job with a battling 8-6 victory against Patricia Hanlon.
It was a case of sweet revenge for Armagh, who will now meet East Antrim on Saturday, November 30.
McNally said: “Perhaps, this performance will help get it out of our system once and for all.”
Results: Irish Women’s Inter-zone championship, first round: Northern 51 North West 55, Mid Tyrone 73 North Down 41, Armagh 76 Oriel 32, East Antrim 46 South Down 35, West Down w/o North Belfast, Mid Antrim 40 Mid Ulster 57.
Second round draw: West Down v Mid Ulster, North West v Mid Tyrone, East Antrim v Armagh, Western v Lisburn, North Eastern v Mid Down, Monaghan v Cork, Donegal v South Tyrone, South & East Belfast v Foyle.