Senior bowlers reach semi-finals of Irish Cup at end of superb week

Ballymena A team members keep a close eye on the action against Belmont. INBT31-233AC
Ballymena A team members keep a close eye on the action against Belmont. INBT31-233AC

Ballymena A completed a very satisfactory week when they made it through to the semi final of the Irish Senior Cup last Saturday.

Belmont A were the visitors and even though this was a close game it was the Braid men who eventually prevailed by a margin of 5 shots.

JR Nicholl, Stephen Coleman and George Graham keep a close eye on the Belmont jack. INBT31-235AC

JR Nicholl, Stephen Coleman and George Graham keep a close eye on the Belmont jack. INBT31-235AC

Over the first 9 ends there was nothing to separate the Ballymena rink of J R Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman and Steven Coleman and the Belmont rink skipped by R Battersby. At this stage of the proceedings the scores were level at 9-9 however 9 ends later the Braid men found themselves trailing by 7 shots. A brace of 2’s saw Coleman’s men close the gap to 3 shots however the visitors picked up a single on the final end to win the game by 22 shots to 18.

Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Andrew Morrison and Andi Duncan shared 10 shots over the first 5 ends with R Horner. The visitors scored a single on the next end but the Braid men picked up a count of 6 shots on the 7th end to take the initiative. Over the next 5 ends the visitors cut the deficit to a single shot but Duncan’s rink found another gear and over the next 5 ends they added another 13 shots to their score without reply. The visitors however were in no mood to throw in the towel and when the 21 ends had been completed the gap was only 3 shots with the Braid men victorious 27-24.

Rod Coleman, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls and Nigel Robinson made a steady start against T Crawford. Both rinks won 5 of the first 10 ends however it was the Braid rink who led by 10 shots to 5. The visitors got themselves back in the game when they picked up a count of 5 shots and with 14 ends played the scores were level at 12-12. Three ends later the scores were still tied at 14-14 and with only 1 end remaining there was still nothing in the game with the score board reading 17-17 but it was the home rink who claimed the victory when they scored a single on the final end to win by 18 shots to 17.

James Gaston, Michael Wilson, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker took on S Bennett and the Ballymena men made the better start and with 5 ends played the home rink lead by 7 shots to 3 but 4 ends later the scores were level at 8-8. The next 8 ends were evenly contested and during this period of play the two rinks shared another 10 shots to leave the scores tied at 13-13. Two shots on the 18th end gave the visitors the lead but the Ballymena men were not to be denied victory and a single on the 19th end and two 3’s over the last 2 ends gave Baker’s men victory by 20 shots to 15.

Ballymena A 78, Old Bleach 59: Ballymena A had their best result of the season in the NIPGL Division 1 when they defeated unbeaten league leaders Old Bleach at the Old Ballymoney Road green last Tuesday night.

Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Roy Torrington and Andi Duncan took on J Millar and after 6 ends the scores were level at 5-5. Three successive singles gave the Braid men a slight advantage and they were able to keep their noses in front for the next 8 ends however 3 shots on the 18th end saw they visitors draw level with the score board reading 14-14. There was disappointment for Duncan’s men on the final end when the visitors scored a single shot to claim victory by 16 shots to 15.

With 5 ends completed there was nothing to separate the Ballymena rink of Rod Coleman, Sammy Allen, Steven Falls and Andrew Morrison and the visiting rink skipped by N Booth. Bleach looked to have gained the initiative when they picked up 5 shots on the 6th end but the Braid men had other ideas. The Ballymena men scored 11 shots over the next 4 ends to lead by 6 shots. The Braid skip in particular was in excellent form and 5 shots between the 18th and 20th ends ensured that victory would go to the Ballymena men 24-17.

James Gaston, Michael Wilson, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker had a close game against M Nutt. The visitors made the better start and with 5 ends played they led by 5 shots to 2. Three consecutive singles saw Baker’s men level the game but Bleach won 5 of the next 7 ends to open up a 7 shot advantage. The Ballymena men were in determined mood and 4 singles and a count of 3 shots over the next 5 ends saw the Ballymena rink level the contest at 14-14 and the Braid rink completed the job on the final end when they picked up a single to win 15-14.

J R Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman and Steven Coleman were always in control against B Trimble when they won 5 of the first 7 ends to lead 12-2. Over the next 7 ends the visitors cut the deficit but Ballymena kept on going until the final end to claim victory by 24 shots to 12.