Bowlers avenge 2015 Irish Cup final defeat to knock out holders

Andi Duncan's rink played a key role in Ballymena's Irish Senior Cup win over Dunbarton.
Andi Duncan's rink played a key role in Ballymena's Irish Senior Cup win over Dunbarton.

Ballymena avenged their Irish Senior Cup final defeat by Dunbarton last year when they knocked the holders out of the competition on Saturday.

It turned out to be a great day for the Braid men who recorded a fine 12 shot victory at the Old Ballymoney Road green.

Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Andrew Morrison and Andi Duncan were in sparkling form against A Hughes on rink 1 and they dominated right from start of the game.

With 6 ends played they led by 10 shots to 0 and this was still the difference between the 2 rinks with 10 ends completed with the score board reading 13-3.

The Ballymena rink continued to outplay the visitors and they restricted them to only 2 more singles during the remainder of the game while Duncan’s men racked up another 18 shots to claim a comprehensive 31-5 victory.

This was a superb rink performance and set the foundation for a great win for the Ballymena team.

On rink 2 David Duncan, Michael Wilson, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker shared 18 shots with the Dunbarton rink skipped by DJ Wilson over the opening 10 ends.

The Braid men won the next 5 ends to open up a 6 shot margin however they were unable to score again as the visitors picked up 13 shots over the remaining ends to win the game by 22 shots to 16.

There was also a close game on rink 3 where J R Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman and Steven Coleman took on C McCartan.

The lead changed on several occasions and there was never more than a couple of shots separating the rinks for the duration of the game.

With 5 ends played the Coleman men led by 6 shots to 5 however 5 ends later it was the Dunbarton rink who lead by 9 shots to 8.

With fifteen ends played the Ballymena foursome were back in front with the score board reading 12-11 however when the game had reached its conclusion it was the visitors who finished in front with the final score 17-16.

Alan McAuley, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls and Nigel Robinson had a difficult day against M Trainor on rink 4 and with 9 ends played they trailed by 13 shots to 2.

The Braid men fought back and 6 ends later they had cut the deficit to 3 shots but the visitors finished strongly to claim a deserved 22-15 victory.

* In midweek, Ballymena moved into second place in NIPGL Division 1 with an 87-59 win over Pickie.

Three shots on the final end saw J R Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman and Steven Coleman claim victory, while the rinks of Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Andrew Morrison and Andi Duncan and Alan McAuley, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls and Nigel Robinson also claimed wins.

Mark Pearson, Michael Wilson, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker lost after making a slow start to their game.