Bowlers pick up two more ‘maximums’ to boost title bid

The battle lines were firmly drawn as Ballymena took on rivals Old Bleach at the Old Ballymoney Road venue on Saturday.
The battle lines were firmly drawn as Ballymena took on rivals Old Bleach at the Old Ballymoney Road venue on Saturday.

Ballymena A continued their league league title charge momentum this week when they played two important matches.

On Tuesday night they claimed maximum points away at Mossley and they repeated the dose on Saturday when they entertained Old Bleach.

Ballymena bowlers try to shield the sun from their eyes as they watch the action develop.

Ballymena bowlers try to shield the sun from their eyes as they watch the action develop.

Ballymena A (95) Mossley (64)

Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Andrew Morrison and Andi Duncan made a brilliant start against S Strange on rink 1.

The Braid men won 8 of the first 12 ends and a count of 7 shots on the 5th end helped them in to a 25-4 lead. The home rink came much more on to the game over the second period of the game but there was only ever going to be one winner here with the Ballymena rink winning by 30 shots to 16.

On rink 2 Alan McAuley, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls and Nigel Robinson made a sluggish start against R Bell but by the time the game had reached the 8th end the scores were tied at 6-6.

Stephen Shields sends down a delivery against Old Bleach.

Stephen Shields sends down a delivery against Old Bleach.

The Ballymena men had their best period of the game over the next 8 ends when they outscored the home rink by 10 shots to 3 to open up a 7 shot advantage and even though the Mossley men had the better of the remaining ends Robinson’s men had done enough to claim victory with the final score 19-16.

James Gaston, Chris Wilson, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker were always in control of their game against T Beck.

The Ballymena rink opened up an early 8 shot lead after 4 ends and this was still the margin after 13 ends with the score board reading 14-6. Five ends later the gap was still 8 shots and the Braid men eventually went on to win by 20 shots to 11.

David Duncan, George Graham, Alistair Coleman and Steven Coleman had a real fight on their hands against A McKeown on rink 5.

The Mossley rink picked up 5 shots over the first 2 ends and a count of 6 shots on the 7th end put the home rink 13-4 in front. The Ballymena men got their act together and a count of 7 shots on the 8th end brought them back in to the game.

Three ends later the visitors hit the front for the first time but 6 shots between the 12th and 14th ends saw the Mossley rink claw back the lead.

This however only proved to be a minor setback as Coleman’s men won the next 6 ends to turn a 4 shot deficit in to 16 shot advantage and even though the home rink picked up a single on the final end it made little difference to the outcome with the visitors winning by 26 shots to 21.

Ballymena A (86) Old Bleach (60)

J R Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman and Andy Morrison took on R Kirkwood on rink 1.

The visitors took an early lead but by the time the game had reached the half way mark the Braid men had their noses in front by 9 shots to 7.

Seven ends later the scores were tied at 13-13 and with only 2 ends remaining the Ballymena men were staring defeat in the face as they trailed by 3 shots.

A single on the penultimate end reduced the gap to 2 shots and Morrison’s men played an excellent final end to pick up 3 shots and claim the victory by 17 shots to 16.

On rink 2 Alan McAuley, Graham Wilson, Chris Wilson and Nigel Robinson lost a single on the first end against S Kirkwood however this would be the only time that the home rink would be behind in this game.

The Braid men won the next 4 ends to lead by 5 shots to 1 however they found the visitors hard to shake off and by the time the game had reached the 13th end the margin between the 2 rinks was only 3 shots.

The complexion of the game changed over the next 4 ends when they Ballymena rink picked up 9 unanswered shots and they went on to see the game out with the final score 24-14.

James Gaston, David Duncan, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker shared 10 shots over the first 8 ends with the visiting rink skipped by N Mulholland. The Braid rink took control of the game when they won 6 of the next 9 ends to open up an 8 shot advantage and they eventually went on to claim victory by 19 shots to 13.

Steven Shields, Michael Wilson, Roy Torrington and Andi Duncan were drawn against M Nutt on rink 4.

Both of the rinks won 5 of the opening 10 ends and a count of 6 shots on the 10th end gave the visitors a 14-12 lead at this stage of the contest.

The second half of the game was a different story as Duncan’s men stamped their authority on the game.

With 13 ends played the visitors still held a 2 shot advantage but five consecutive 2’s set the Ballymena rink on the way to victory. The visitors picked up a single on the 19th end but the Braid men closed out the game with 2 further shots to leave the final score 26-17.