Michelin favourites to land fifth straight League Cup success

Indoor bowls.

Indoor bowls.

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Michelin will start as strong favourites to land a fifth successive Ballymena & District Knockout Cup title in the final later this month.

The reigning league and cup holders will face imminent second division champions BIBC in the decider at Eaton Park on March 18.

BIBC’s progress was ensured without having to deliver a wood, as semi-final opponents Golf Seniors opted not to try to overturn their 40-shots deficit from the first leg and withdrew from the competition.

Michelin safely defended their 18-shot first leg lead against BPFA ‘A’ in a low-scoring affair in which the Broughshane team never really threatened to overturn the deficit.

It was all square at 15 shots apiece at the interval after the first half match-ups finished 10-5 in favour of each side.

Grant Robinson’s rink won four of the opening six ends to lead Doran Turtle by seven shots to two. The Broughshane rink managed to reduce the arrears to two shots but three shots over the closing ends guided Robinson’s rink to victory.

The scoreline was reversed on the other mat where Alan Cahoon’s foursome overcame Wesley Caldwell.

The two rinks were deadlocked at 4-4 after six ends. Three shots over the next two ends gave the home rink the advantage and even though the Michelin rink picked up a single on the penultimate end a count of three shots gave the home rink victory.

The second half was also closely-contested with Michelin’s Matthew Boyd guiding his rink to a 6-5 victory over Andrew Morrison.

Six singles were shared over the opening ends but 3 shots over the next two ends gave the Michelin rink in charge. The home rink scored two shots on the ninth end to reduce the arrears to a single shot and a ‘no head’ on the final end saw the visitors claim a hard fought 6-5 victory.

There was also a one shot margin in favour of Broughshane’s David Morrison going into the last end of his meeting with Graham Wilson and when Morrison burned the final end the two rinks shook hands to leave the final score 8-7.

LEAGUE PLATE

Clough Rangers will meet First Ballymena in the League Plate final at Eaton Park on March 16 after both came through their semi-finals.

Clough were 13-shot victors over Services ‘A’, aided largely by an 11-shot win for R Kilpatrick against Dessie McNeill. Gregory Kirk and Raymond Aitcheson also skipped winning Clough rinks, while Bill Kitson was victorious for Services.

First Ballymena edged out Eaton Park by four shots in a closely contested encounter, with Jim Lilley’s five-shot win over Gary Shaw proving the difference.

Matt McPeake skipped ‘First’s other winning rink, while Bonar Hill and Noel Crabbe’s victory left the rugby club side just short.