Halifax boost title hopes

Bowls - Halifax v Middleton at Hove Edge. Martin Steele.
Bowls - Halifax v Middleton at Hove Edge. Martin Steele.
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Halifax and District bowls team made it three wins out of three this season in the Federation National League’s first division on Sunday.

They beat leaders Middleton 20-12 (432-404) to move into second place, four points behind Middleton who have completed their fixtures.

Halifax and Leeds both have 57 points with one match left. Halifax are ahead on shots difference by 64 to 62.

Using Hove Edge number two green as their home venue for the first time, Halifax started with two winners from the first four.

Clive Austin (Mytholmroyd BC) was their best winner, by 21-15, but they trailed by seven shots on aggregate against a very experienced visiting four.

Halifax improved steadily and won three of the next four games with both Martin Steele (Akroydon Victoria) and Andrew Tate (Brighouse Sports) winning to 14. However, Halifax were still trailing by four shots in their quest for the two aggregate home points.

Four winners out of four by the last Halifax players secured the aggregate points for a home leg win of 9-2 (230-185) with Gordon Bradford (Greetland) and Brendan Malone (Siddal Park) winning to nine and 10 respectively.

At Aston C& BC, Halifax were faced with a large green with large undulations in some areas and a deceptive pace. Places which appeared to be uphill were actually quite the reverse.

Two winners from the first four, through Kieren Bannister (Mythomroyd BC) and Adrian Brier (Elland WM), saw Halifax off to a good start.

They were very contrasting successes. Bannister led 12-0 and Brier trailed 16-6 but both finally earned their match points to 12 and 18 respectively for Halifax to trail on aggregate by three shots.

The second four jacks produced only one winner , Joel Abdy (Elland WM) winning to 15. Keith Hatzer (Hove Edge) led all the way, only to concede two pairs at the last two ends to lose by that odd chalk.

Halifax were holding Middleton on their own green to just 10 shots at this stage but two more individual defeats put the away aggregate points out of reach.

However, there was a final flourish from numbers 11 and 12. Tony Bannister (Mytholmroyd BC) won 21-9 against a homester and Tom Gasson (Hove Edge)took six of the last seven ends to win 21-18.

A 9-5 away defeat (219-202), when matched to the home win, gave Halifax the four points for overall aggregate.

Leeds beat Airedale & Wharfedale 18-14 to equal Halifax’s points total and to set up an exciting finale. Leeds meet bottom team Fylde and Halifax take on Airedale & Wharfedale, who are only eight points off the pace.