Michelin given stern examination by Old Bleach in League Cup tie

All eyes were on the head during last week's League Cup match in Broughshane. INBT 41-810H
All eyes were on the head during last week's League Cup match in Broughshane. INBT 41-810H

Michelin have proved themselves the undisputed kings of the Ballymena & District League Cup as they bid for a sixth straight success.

But it’s doubtful that in the course of the previous five years that the Woodside Road outfit have been given as stern an examination as they were in last week’s opening round trip to Old Bleach.

Michelin were pushed all the way before eventually taking an eight shot lead into the second leg in a fortnight’s time.

At the halfway stage, Michelin would gladly have accepted that outcome after losing both first half rinks and trailing by five shots at the break.

Willie Fullerton’s rink got the better of Wesley Caldwell by two shots, after picking up that total on the final end.

On the other mat, the Randalstown side also emerged victorious with Brian Trimble’s quartet getting the better of Grant Robinson.

Michelin knew they had to make inroads quickly into that deficit in the second period and they did so after Matthew Boyd’s rink won four of the final five ends to defeat Alan Scott by nine shots to five.

And the Michelin comeback was completed in fine style as Jonathan Reid’s foursome produced an impressive performance to beat Mervyn McDonald by 11 shots to two to ensure that the defending champions will start the second leg on their own mats ahead in the tie.

Of the remaining first round ties, the most likely chance of a shock result might well come at the Services Club.

The Trostan Avenue club’s ‘B’ team travelled to first division JTI and with 20 shots on handicap, restricted their top flight opponent to just a two shot win in the first instalment.

The JTI rinks skipped by Jack Kerr and Helen Lynn recorded big winning margins against John Simms and Greta Coulter, while Timothy Rock’s rink also won for the Ahoghill-based side.

The fact that Services remain very much in the tie rests with John Smith’s rink, who produced a top display to beat Billy Lynn 14-2.

Services ‘A’ will also fancy their chances of eliminating higher-ranked opposition after running Golf Club close in the first leg at Raceview.

Services, with 10 shots on handicap, made a confident start with Mark Shaw defeating Johnny Lynn but Fred Dawson’s Golf rink were 14-1 winners over Pauline Wilson.

Golf Club took control after the break with wins for Sean McGarry and David McCullough, but with Services receiving another 10 shots in the second leg, they will effectively start two shots ahead on their own mats.

BPFA ‘A’, as expected, has too much know-how for Moneyglass, winning by 65 shots to 36. Patsy Boyd’s rink ran Ivan Craig close in the opening game but thereafter, it was plain sailing for Broughshane with convincing wins from Alan Cahoon, Martin Craig and Alistair McCullough.

In an all-Division Three clash, All Saints got the better of Maine by 23 shots. Nicholas Mitchell and Eugene McReynolds shaded the verdicts in the two first half games but Saints cut loose after the break with clear-cut wins from Anthony Mitchell and Sean Haveron.

In the other game, Portglenone Community Centre will take a 16-shot lead into the second leg against First Ballymena.

BPFA ‘A’ 65, Moneyglass (+20) 36: I Craig 11, P Boyd 10; A Cahoon 23, B Marron 3; M Craig 18, H Marron 1; A McCullough 13, S Kerr 2.

All Saints 53, Maine 30: N Mitchell 8, P Heffron 7; E McReynolds 11, B Magill 9; A Mitchell 17, J Heffron 8; S Haveron 17, P Kerr 6.

Golf Club 39, Services ‘A’ (+10) 31: J Lynn 7, M Shaw 11; F Dawson 14, P Wilson 1; S McGarry 8, D McLaughlin 5; D McCullough 10, B Kitson 4.

JTI 48, Services ‘B’ (+20) 46: T Rock 10, R Dickson 6; J Kerr 17, J Simms 4; H Lynn 19, G Coulter 2; B Lynn 2, J Smith 14.

Old Bleach 25, Michelin 33: W Fullerton 10, W Caldwell 8; B Trimble 8, G Robinson 5; A Scott 5, M Boyd 9; M McDonald 2, J Reid 11.

Old Bleach 25, Michelin 33: W Fullerton 10, W Caldwell 8; B Trimble 8, G Robinson 5; A Scott 5, M Boyd 9; M McDonald 2, J Reid 11.

FIXTURES

League games resume this week with the following fixtures:

Division One: BPFA ‘A’ v Michelin; JTI v Golf Club; BIBC v Old Bleach.

Division Two: Services ‘A’ v Portglenone CC; First Ballymena v Golf Seniors; BPFA ‘B’ v Harryville CC; Antrim IBC v Glenravel.

Division Three: Moneyglass v Eaton Park; West Church v Services ‘B’; All Saints v Round Tower.