Braidmen squander early-season points against Ewarts

Ballymena A and Ewarts bowlers braving the cold wind and rain during their match on Saturday. INBT19-221AC
Ballymena A and Ewarts bowlers braving the cold wind and rain during their match on Saturday. INBT19-221AC

Ballymena A dropped vital league points as they played their second game of the season against Ewarts last Saturday.

This turned out to be a close game with the Braid men salvaging a draw with the last bowl of the day.

Michael Wilson, S B Allen, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker made a dream start against R McClean Jnr on rink 1 and with 5 ends played the home rink led by 12 shots to 2.

As the game progressed however the visitors played themselves back in to the game and 7 ends later the Ewarts rink had reduced the arrears to only 3 shots.

The Braid men regained control of the game when they scored 6 unanswered shots over the next 4 ends and they would go on to complete a good day at the office with a fine 24-14 victory.

Over on rink 4 Stephen Coleman Jnr, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls and Nigel Robinson made a decent enough start against C Magee and with 6 ends completed they led by 7 shots to 4.

Unfortunately for the Braid men it was all downhill from then on.

Over the next 5 ends the visitors amassed a total of 15 shots without reply to turn a 3 shot deficit in to a 12 shot lead.

The Ballymena rink managed to steady the ship over the closing ends but they were never able to get back in to the game and in the end they went down by 24 shots to 14.

J R Nicholl, Nigel McAleese, Alistair Coleman and Steven Coleman were drawn against V Atkinson on rink 3 and it was the visitors who were quicker out of the blocks and with 2 ends played the Braid men trailed by 5 shots to 0.

Three ends later the Ballymena rink were back on level terms and Coleman’s men dominated the next 7 ends outscoring the visitors by 6 shots to 1 to lead by 5 shots with 8 ends still be play.

With only 3 ends remaining it looked as though the home rink was well on their way to victory but the visitors had other ideas.

Two 2’s got the Ewarts rink to within 2 shots of the Braid men and they claimed an unlikely victory when they picked up a count of 6 shots on the final end to win the game by 20 shots to 16.

The final game of the day took place on rink 2 where Alan McAuley, Neal Garrett, Jimmy Hodges and Andrew Morrison took on A Truick.

The visitors got off to the better start and after 8 ends they led by 12 shots to 4.

The Ewarts lead did not last long however and 5 ends later the Braid rink had wiped out the deficit and actually lead by 4 shots.

The visitors had slightly the better of the next few ends and with only 2 ends remaining the Ballymena lead had been cut to a single shot.

Morrison’s men picked up 2 shots on their penultimate end and even though they now lead by 3 shots it was the visitors who were poised to take the lion’s share of the points as they held an overall lead in the game of one shot.

The final end was a nervy affair and when all the bowls had been delivered there was little to separate a Ballymena bowl and a Ewarts’ bowl,.

However after a very close measure the shot went to the Morrison rink who not only won their point by a score of 22 shots to 18 but also ensured that the Braid team would take a share of the 3 points for the overall win.

This week is a very busy week for Ballymena A.

On Thursday night the Old Ballymoney Road men travel to Belmont B in the first round of the NIPGL Senior Cup and then on Saturday they travel to Willowfield in the first round of the Irish Senior Cup.

This is followed by a Tuesday night league match when they make the short trip to visit near neighbours Old Bleach at Neillsbrook.