Ballymena ‘A’ team flying high after cup win over Aer Lingus

John Nicholl, Alastair Coleman, Stephen Coleman and Geordie Graham of Ballymena A pictured prior to their game with Larne. INBT22-218AC
John Nicholl, Alastair Coleman, Stephen Coleman and Geordie Graham of Ballymena A pictured prior to their game with Larne. INBT22-218AC

Ballymena A saved their best performance of the 2015 season for the second round Irish Senior Cup game against Aer Lingus last Saturday.

There was little to choose between the two teams over the opening ends but as the game progressed the Braid men gradually took charge and in fact all 4 Ballymena rinks were in the ascendency as the home team recorded an excellent 41 shot victory.

The big winners of the day were the Ballymena rink of Michael Wilson, Sammy Allen, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker who were drawn against T Doyle on rink 1. The home rink was is superb form and their dominance was such that they won 9 of the first 11 ends to lead by a massive 18 shots. The remainder of the game was much more of a contest but Baker’s men were always well ahead and in the end they went on to record a fine 30-9 victory.

The visiting rink skipped by E Farrell picked up a count of 4 shots on the first end against James Gaston, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls and Nigel Robinson on rink 2 and with 5 ends played they still held a 3 shot lead. The Braid men finally settled down and they won the next five ends to turn a 3 shot deficit in to a 7 shot advantage. This turned out to be the pivotal period of the game as the 2 rinks shared 20 shots over the remainder of the game to leave the Ballymena men victorious by 25-18.

Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Andrew Morrison and Andi Duncan took a little time to get used to the conditions on rink 3 in their game against M O’Looney and with 8 ends completed the visitors lead by 7 shots to 5. The game changed over the next 7 ends as the Braid men found their line and length and with the help of 2 counts of 4 shots on the 11th and 15th ends they wiped out the arrears and put themselves in a winning position with the scoreboard reading 18-8 in their favour. The visitors then won the next 3 ends to cut the deficit to 6 shots but a third count of 4 shots on the 19th end ensured that there was only going to be one winner with the Braid men eventually going on to record a fine 25-13 victory.

The closest game of the day was on rink 4 where J R Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman and Steven Coleman took on W Doyle and with 8 ends played the scores were level at 6-6. The visitors then had their best period of the game when they won 5 of the next 6 ends to open up a 5 shot advantage. The Braid men then picked up 3 singles over the next 3 ends to cut the gap to only 2 shots but the visitors picked up another shot on the 18th end to leave the score board reading 14-11 with only 3 ends to play. Coleman’s rink were in no mood to give up and 2 singles on the 19th and 20th ends got them to within one shot of the visitors and they finished the job off on the final end when they scored 2 shots to give the Ballymena men a hard fought 15-14 victory.

PGL CUP EXIT

Ballymena A entertained Larne in the first round of the NIPGL Senior Cup last Thursday night. The visitors made the better start but with about two thirds of the game played the Braid men held a slight advantage. Unfortunately for Ballymena it was the visitors who finished the stronger to book themselves a place in the second round.

Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Andrew Morrison and Andi Duncan took on A Kyle. The visitors got off to a flier and with 4 ends completed they lead 10-0. The Braid men got themselves back in to the game when they scored 10 unanswered shots over the next 5 ends to draw level. With only 4 ends to go the scores were still level at 16-16 however the visitors secured victory with 4 singles over the remaining ends with the final score 20-16.

Michael Wilson, Sammy Allen, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker did not have the best of nights against M Murphy. The Braid men scored 3 shots on the 2nd end but this was their only score over the first 12 ends and at this stage of the contest the visitors lead by 11 shots. The remainder of the game was closer but in the end the Ballymena men went down by 20 shots to 8.

James Gaston, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls and Nigel Robinson had a close game against D McRandal. Scores were level at 4-4 after 4 ends and 8-8 after 10 ends. The Ballymena men appeared to have taken control of the game when they outscored the visitors by 11 shots to 2 over the next 5 ends but the Larne rink finished strongly to get within a shot of Robinson’s men who eventually claimed the narrowest of victories by 20 shots to 19.

J R Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman and Steven Coleman also had a close game against A McCLean. With 5 ends played the scoreboard read 4-4 and after 12 ends the scores were still tied at 10-10. Ballymena had much the better of the remaining ends winning 6 of the remaining ends and claiming a well deserved 21-15 victory.