Disappointment as bowlers let cup glory slip from their grasp

George Graham, President of Ballymena Bowling Club, is presented with the Irish Senior Cup runners-up trophy from Irish Bowling Association President Robert Madden.' Picture: Press Eye.

George Graham, President of Ballymena Bowling Club, is presented with the Irish Senior Cup runners-up trophy from Irish Bowling Association President Robert Madden.' Picture: Press Eye.

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Ballymena A took on Dunbarton in the final of the Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup which was held at Old Bleach last Saturday.

The Braid men made an encouraging start to the contest and with two thirds of the game played they were in a commanding position as they held a 25 shot lead.

Ballymena Bowling Club team pictured prior to leaving for the Senior Irish Cup final. INBT35-240AC

Ballymena Bowling Club team pictured prior to leaving for the Senior Irish Cup final. INBT35-240AC

Unfortunately as the game reached its conclusion the Dunbarton team fought back and with only a couple of ends remaining the game was level. The momentum was now with the Gilford men and they won the last couple of ends to claim an unlikely victory.

James Gaston, Michael Wilson, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker were drawn against D J Wilson on rink 4.

The Dunbarton rink won the first 2 ends to open up a 4 shot advantage but Baker’s men hit back and they scored 13 unanswered shots over the next 5 ends to lead by 9. The Dunbarton rink picked up scores of 2 and 6 over the next 2 ends to reduce the arrears to a single shot but the Braid men outscored the Gilford rink by 11 shots to 2 to open up a 10 shot lead with only 4 ends remaining.

Three ends later the Braid lead had been cut to a single shot and 4 shots on the final end saw the Dunbarton men complete the comeback to win the game by 27 shots to 24

Action from Ballymena's Irish Senior Cup final against Dunbarton at Old Bleach. Picture: Press Eye.

Action from Ballymena's Irish Senior Cup final against Dunbarton at Old Bleach. Picture: Press Eye.

The next rink off was Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Andrew Morrison and Andi Duncan who took on the Dunbarton rink skipped by M Greenfield on rink 3.

The Braid men were in good form and they won 7 of the opening ends to lead by 10 shots to 5. Six ends later the lead was down to 4 shots but Duncan’s men were in determined mood and they won the next 4 ends to increase their advantage to 9 shots and even though the Dunbarton rink picked up a single of the final end it could not take the gloss off an excellent Ballymena performance with the final score 19-11.

Rod Coleman, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls and Nigel Robinson did not have the best of days against A Hughes on rink 2.

The Dunbarton rink were on top right from the start and with only 4 ends played they had already opened up an 8 shot advantage. The Braid men steadied the ship over the next 9 ends and in fact during this time Robinson’s men were able to reduce the deficit to 5 shots with the score board reading 14-9.

Dunbarton, however, dominated the remainder of the game and over the next 5 ends they scored 13 shots without reply. The Braid men stopped the rot on the 19th end when they picked up 2 shots but the Gilford rink claimed 3 shots over the final 2 ends to run out victors by 30 shots to 11.

JR Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman and Steven Coleman took on M Trainor on rink 1 and they were the last rink off the green.

The Ballymena men were in excellent form and they dominated the first 13 ends, outscoring Dunbarton by 18 shots to 3. The next 5 ends were evenly contested and with only 3 ends remaining the margin was still 15 shots.

The Dunbarton rink then picked up a single on the 19th end but with the other 3 rinks off the green the overall scores were tied at 76-76.

Coleman’s men had played well all day however the Gilford men had the better of the last 2 ends and 2 shots on the penultimate end and a single on the final end gave the Dunbarton men the cup even though they had been well beaten on the day with the Braid rink winning by 22 shots to 11.

Ballymena A have to put their disappointment behind them this week as they have two league matches. On Tuesday night they entertain Belmont and on Saturday they travel to Pickie.