Braidmen overcome opening hurdle in Irish Cup

All eyes were on the other rink during the Ballymena v Portadown Irish Cup match. INBT 21-823H
All eyes were on the other rink during the Ballymena v Portadown Irish Cup match. INBT 21-823H

Ballymena A entertained Portadown in the first round of the sport’s Blue Riband event, the Irish Senior Cup, last Saturday.

The Braid men made a great start and at the half way stage of the game they led by over 30 shots.

Michael Wilson bowls for Ballymena during the Irish Cup tie with Portadown. INBT 21-822H

Michael Wilson bowls for Ballymena during the Irish Cup tie with Portadown. INBT 21-822H

The remainder of the game was closer but the Ballymena team were never in any danger and they cruised to a 34 shot victory.

The next round is a repeat of last year’s final and Ballymena will be looking for revenge when they travel to Dunbarton.

James Gaston, Michael Wilson, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker were in excellent form against D Wright on rink 1.

With 10 ends completed the Braid rink led by 12 shots to 2.

The Ballymena men continued their push right up to the very end and went on to record a fine 24-10 victory

The game on rink 2 between Alan McAuley, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls and Nigel Robinson and the visiting rink skipped by D Jordan could have gone either way.

There was never more than 3 or 4 shots in the game and the lead changed on several occasions.

However when the teams walked off the green it was the visitors who held a slight advantage with the final score 21-18.

J R Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman and Steven Coleman made a dream start against R McMullan on rink 3.

The visitors could only score 1 single shot over the first 10 ends while Coleman’s men picked up a total of 15 shots to lead by 14.

The visitors had slightly the better of the remaining ends but the Ballymena rink was always well in control of the game and eventually went on to win by 22 shots to 13.

Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Andrew Morrison and Andi Duncan made a slow start against P Hunniford on rink 4.

With 5 ends played they trailed by 4 shots to 0.

The next end changed the whole complexion of the game, however, as the Braid men picked up a near maximum count of 7 shots.

From then on the Ballymena men took charge and they won all but 4 of the remaining ends to claim a fine 23-9 victory.

Ballymena A has two matches this week in the busiest week of the season to date for the Old Ballymoney Road side.

On Tuesday night (tonight) they will entertain near neighbours Larne and then on Saturday they travel to Belmont A.