Major bowls row erupts

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A major row has erupted amongst local bowlers following Ballinderry’s recent withdrawal of their players from the Lisburn Zone team against Mid Tyrone.

Last week the Ulster Star bowls correspondent Harry Allen reported Ballinderry’s withdrawal, adding that the reasons behind the withdrawals were unknown to him, but that they must have been extremely serious in the view of the Ballinderry bowlers.

Zone secretary, Mary Croot, later issued a letter on behalf of Lisburn Zone, disassociating the Zone officers from last week’s report.

Ms Croot wrote: “The Zone officers wish to disassociate themselves from the remarks contained in last week’s bowls notes on the Zone match between Lisburn and Mid Tyrone.”

However, Ballinderry Secretary Paul Reid, defended the Ballinderry club’s decision and claimed that remarks made on Facebook by other bowlers led to the withdrawal of Ballinderry players.

He said the problems originated from activities on Facebook over a long period which were directed at himself.

Paul said: “The messages were mostly directed at myself and I had no real problem shrugging this off, but when comments started to become of a more personal nature some of the Ballinderry players thought I should take it more seriously.

“I point the finger at some other bowlers for posting many of these comments and a few weeks ago at a match I openly challenged some individuals.”

He added that the matter was raised at the club and the decision made to ask Zone players from Ballinderry to withdraw from all future Inter Zone matches.

“Each person involved agreed to the proposal,” he said.

“It is with some regret that the club and these players made this decision.”

Harry Allen commented: “Facebook is sometimes an unfortunate addition to our current way of life and remarks are often made, but not often in the sport of bowls.

“However, according to a statement released by Paul Reid on behalf of the Ballinderry club, Facebook played a big part in Ballinderry deciding to withdraw their players from the Lisburn Zone team against Mid Tyrone.”

Harry Allen said that he would not intend to comment further on the matter.

“My hopes were to get a genuine reason behind the withdrawals and I hope all bowlers can decide on the matter themselves.

“Let’s get back to the sport of bowls again,” he stated.