Ballymena followed up their excellent win against Old Bleach in the Irish Senior Cup just over a week ago with another five star performance when they beat Belmont in the quarter final of the NIPGL Senior Cup last Thursday night.
There was never much in the contest with the game going down to the very last end but the men in blue made it safely through to the semi final stages with a narrow 1 shot victory.
Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Andrew Morrison and Andi Duncan were drawn against S Martin and there was nothing to choose between the 2 rinks over the first 11 ends with the scoreboard reading 9-9.
Over the next 4 ends the Braid men opened up a 4 shot advantage but a brace of 2’s saw the visitors level the game at 14-14.
Two counts of 3 shots over the 18th and 19th ends gave the home rink the initiative and although the visitors won the final 2 ends, Duncan’s men came out on top 20-17.
Alan McAuley, Michael Wilson, Steven Falls and Nigel Robinson started slowly against R Horner and with 7 ends completed they trailed 8-3.
The Ballymena men had their best period of the game when they won 5 of the next 6 ends to take a narrow 1 shot lead. With 4 ends remaining this was still the margin however the Belmont won 3 of the remaining 4 ends to claim victory by 20 shots to 17.
J R Nicholl, George Graham, Chris Wilson and Steven Coleman and the Belmont rink skipped by R Battersby both won 6 of the opening 12 ends and at this stage of the contest the Braid men led by 9 shots to 7.
The complexion of the game changed over the next 6 ends when the visitors picked up counts of 4, 5 and 6 to open up an 11 shot lead.
In a close game it is important to fight for every shot and the Ballymena men dug deep to win the remaining 3 ends to reduce the arrears to 25 shots to 19.
James Gaston, David Duncan, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker made a great start against S Bennett on rink 4 and with 6 ends played they led 10-0. Seven ends later the margin was still 10 shots and over the next 4 ends Baker’s men extended their advantage to 14 shots.
The Belmont rink had much the better of the last 4 ends but it could not take the gloss off a great Ballymena performance with the final score 20-13.
* The British Isles Bowling Council Championships and Senior Internationals will take place at LLandrindod Wells Bowling Club, Wales this weekend. Ballymena Bowling Club would like to wish every success to Steven Shields, Andi Duncan and Steven Coleman who are part of the Irish team and also to J R Nicholl, Rod Coleman, Jim Baker and Roy Torrington who are representing Ireland in the Senior Fours.