Ballymena Juniors had an early start when they left the clubhouse at 8.30 am to head for Pickie who had agreed to start their match at 10am to facilitate some of the Ballymena players who wanted to go to Windsor Park for the Irish Cup final.
This was a very close game which could have gone either way but it was not to be for the Ballymena men who returned with only 2 points to show for their endeavours.
Artie McAuley, Arnold Kenny, Ivan Lynn and John Coulter were nip and tuck with the Pickie men for most of their game and with 16 ends there was little to choose between the 2 rinks. The turning point of the game however came of the 17th end when the visitors conceded 7 shots and Pickie went on to win 29-17.
On rink 2 John McFall, Neal Garrett, Alan McAuley and Roy Torrington and the Pickie rink skipped by W Girvan both won 5 of the first 10 ends but it was the visitors who had their noses in front 10-6. Over the next 6 ends the Braid men took control of the game when they won 4 of the next 5 ends to extend their advantage to 11 shots. The remaining ends were more closely contested but it was the Ballymena men who went on to claim victory by23 shots to 11.
Leslie Barr, Tommy Hill, Chris Wilson and George Graham found it tough going on rink 3 against N Irwin and after only 5 ends had been played they found themselves trailing by 12 shots to 4. Over the next few ends the Braid men settled down and at the half way stage of the game the deficit was down to 4 shots. Seven ends later the margin was still 4 shots and the visitors were still very much in the game but they conceded 3 shots over the next 2 ends to leave them needing a big finish to get anything out of the game. The Ballymena rink did win the last 2 ends but they could only score a total of 4 shots which left the home rink victorious by 23 shots to 20.
David Duncan, Jimmy Larkin, Nigel McFadden and Michael Wilson were involved in a tight game against N Belch on rink 4. With 5 ends played the scores were tied at 5-5. Nine ends later there was still nothing to separate the rinks with the scoreboard reading 13-13 and with only 3 ends remaining the scores were still level at 15-15. On the 19th end Wilson’s charges scored a single but on the penultimate end the home rink gained the advantage when they scored 2 shots to lead by 17 shots to 16. The Braid men played a good last end and with only the skips left to play the visitors lay 1 shot. With his first bowl the young Ballymena skip drew a second shot to lie game and he repeated the dose with his final bowl to give the Braid rink a hard fought 19-17 victory.
Ballymena Juniors will be looking to get back to winning ways this Saturday when they entertain Dunbarton.
Ballymena Senior Park had no match on Saturday but this Thursday night they entertain Larne in the first round of the NIPGL Senior Cup and then on Saturday it is back to the league when they travel to North Belfast