Ballymena B had an excellent week as they claimed maximum points from two league fixtures at the Old Ballymoney Road green.
Those successes, against Cavehill in midweek and North Belfast on Saturday, mean the Braid men now sit proudly at the top of the NIPGL Division 3.
Ballymena B 114, Cavehill A 54: There was a game of 2 halves as Billy McCandless, Stuart McCarthy, Danny McCullough and Ivan Lynn were drawn against M Mitchell. The Ballymena men certainly made home advantage count as they raced in to 21-3 lead after 10 ends however the second period of the game was a different story as the visitors outscored the Braid rink by 14 shots to 5 but it was not enough to secure victory as Lynn’s rink held on to claim a 26-17 victory.
Mark Pearson, Leslie Barr, Joe McKeown and Geoff Padgett shared 6 shots over the first 4 ends with the visiting rink skipped by A Ross however from then on it was the Ballymena men who took control. Over the next 10 ends the Ballymena men outscored the visitors by 14 shots to 5 and a further 14 shots over the next 5 ends gave them an unassailable lead and the Braid rink was well worth their 32-9 victory.
Alan Smyth, Arnold Kenny, Nigel McFadden and John Coulter made a perfect start against G Martin and with 6 ends completed they had established a 14-0 lead. The next 11 ends were evenly contested with the margin still 14 shots but it was the Cavehill men who finished strongly when they won the remaining 4 ends but the Braid men had done all the hard work in the early stages as they won 25-18.
Alan McAuley, John McFall, Tommy Hill and Roy Torrington started well against W Gallagher and with only 3 ends played they had already opened up an 8 shot advantage. The visitors settled down and over the next 6 ends they reduced the deficit to 5 shots but the Braid men found another gear and dominated the remainder of the game. The visitors were only able to score 3 more singles while the Ballymena rink picked up a total of 17 shots to claim an emphatic 31-10 win.
Ballymena B 91, North Belfast 61.5: At halfway the overall scores were level at 35-35 but Ballymena found another gear over the remaining ends and eventually all 4 rinks came out on top.
Billy McCandless, Stuart McCarthy, Danny McCullough and Ivan Lynn found it tough going against the visiting rink skipped by J Bell on rink 1. In fact the Braid men could only win 2 of the opening 11 ends but they were able to restrict the visitors mainly to singles and this meant that they only trailed by 10 shots to 5. The Ballymena men had the better of the remaining ends and with 16 ends played they were level at 13-13. Four ends later the scores were still level at 17-17 but the Braid rink claimed victory when the Ballymena skip drew the shot to claim the victory by 18 shots to 17 (the North Belfast men rink could only field 3 players so the lost a quarter of their score. Adjusted score 17-13.75).
Alan Smyth, Leslie Barr, Arnold Kenny and Nigel McFadden also struggled against T Johnston. The visitors won 8 of the opening 10 ends but a count of 5 shots on the 7th end ensured that the Braid men only trailed by 13 shots to 8. The second half of the game was a different story as the Belfast men could only pick up another 2 singles while McFadden’s men racked up a total of 16 shots to run out victors by 24 shots to 15.
Mark Pearson, Joe McKeown, Geoff Padgett and Chris Wilson dominated the first 14 ends of their game against E Totten. During this period the visitors could only score 6 singles while the home rink picked up a total of 18 shots to lead by 12. If the Ballymena though that the game was in the bag the visitors had other ideas. The Belfast men scored 9 shots over the next 3 ends to reduce the deficit to only 2 shots but the Braid rink stopped the rot when they picked up 4 shots on the 18th end to extend their advantage to 7 shots. The visitors hit back and won the remaining ends but it was too little too late as Wilson’s men ran out victors by 22 shots to 19.
Alan McAuley, John McFall, Tommy Hill and Roy Torrington controlled their game against G Maginnes right from the start and with 3 ends completed they lead by 6 shots to 0. Six ends later the lead was still 6 shots however by the time the game had reached the 16th end the Ballymena advantage had doubled to 12 shots. Seven shots over the next 2 ends saw the gap increase to 19 shots and even though the visitors won the last 3 ends it could not take the gloss off an excellent win for Torrington’s men with the final score 27-14.
This week Ballymena B entertain Belmont B.