bowls: Race is on to find replacement for Ireland boss Jim Baker

Senior Cup Bowls': 'Old Bleach v Ballymena
Senior Cup Bowls': 'Old Bleach v Ballymena

The race is on to face a replacement for Ireland boss Jim Baker.

Having completed seven years in the post, the Ballymena decided to call it a day, which took the Irish officials by surprise.

His assistant and current Under-25 boss Michael Nutt will take over team responsibilities on a temporary basis.

Baker was a hugely influential figure in the Irish set-up, both on and off the green. His decision comes at the worst possible time with the 2016 Home Internationals at Llandrindrod Wells looming at the end of this month.

One, one of the country’s most decorated players, Bkaer led the Irish to British success in 2009 -- his first year in charge after succeeding Roy McCune.

He injected a new confidence that helped develop the side from also-rans into genuine title challengers.

“We reluctantly agreed to accept Jim resignation,” said IBA secretary John Millar. “We wish to thank him for his efforts over the past number of years. Jim did a lot of work behind the scenes that a lot of people were not aware of.

“However, he felt it was time to step away and let someone else to take over.

“The process will begin to find a suitable replacement,” added Millar. “It’s certainly something we will not be rushing into as we have a strict procedure to follow."

Meanwhile, it a big week in the Provincial national singles championship with current title holder Nicky McCaw putting his crown on the line on Thursday night against Philip Wallace from Cookstown.

NIPBA Singles, round five (Thursday, June 23): D O’Kane (Letterkenny) v M Thompson (City off Derry), N McCaw (Ballymoney) v P Wallace (Cookstown), T Smith (Ballymoney) v B KNE (dUnluce), A Reid (Ballymoney) v D Ealker (Ballymoney).

NIPBA Triples, (Friday, June 24): D McMacken (Dingiven) or S Wilmont (Dunluce) v B Kenney (Coleraine), G Kelly (Ballymoney) v K Shirley (Ballymoney), V Dallas (Coleraine) v J Calvin (Coleraine), S Quinn (Cookstown) v P Moore (Dunluce), W McCaw (Ballymoney) v R Brown (Limavady), E Curran (Potrush) v H McCallum (Coleraine), C Mabon (Letterkenny) v B McAlary (Ballymoney), A Cassley (Ballymmoney) v W McKeown (Dunluce).