BPFA ‘A’ needed one of their ‘big guns’ to pull them out of a hole in last week’s Ballymena & District League Knockout Cup action.
The Division One high-fliers were staring down the barrel of a shock defeat at the hands of second division Golf Seniors, until David Morrison’s rink came to Broughshane’s rescue.
BPFA had been matched - and indeed bettered - by their lower division opponents for much of the game - but Morrison’s rink produced a barnstorming performance to completely alter the complexion of the tie.
The golfers, who had begun the evening with a 10-shot handicap advantage, had already won on two rinks, with Ivan McMaster and John Nichols having shaded the verdict in closely-fought encounters with Doran Turtle and Alistair McCullough respectively.
And it would have been a hat-trick of rink wins for the Raceview outfit, but for a count of two shots on the final end by Ivan Craig, which earned him a 9-9 tie against Ian Lecky.
But with Broughshane seemingly on the ropes, it was the rink skipped by Irish international Morrison that came to the visitors’ rescue with a 22-0 eclipse of Donald Smyth’s foursome.
As the scoreline suggests, Morrison’s rink was always in the ascendancy but, with every shot vital in a two-legged cup tie, the Broughshane rink really cut loose in the last three ends with counts of four and two shots before landing the killer blow of a count of seven on the last end as BPFA ran out winners by nine shots overall.
Golf Seniors will, of course, have a further 10 shots on handicap in the second leg, meaning they will effectively start off one shot up on the night but they may regret that their cushion isn’t more comfortable going into the second instalment.
Michelin, aiming to win the trophy for a remarkable sixth year in succession, are already guaranteed their place in the quarter-finals after opponents Glenravel opted not to fulfil the second leg of their fixture.
That decision came after a heavy defeat for the Martinstown side in the first leg, where the defending champions ran out comfortable 62-23 winners.
Michelin’s top-flight know-how proved too much on three of the four rinks as Matthew Boyd, Chris Wilson and Graham Wilson’s rinks all won with something to spare.
But it was a memorable night for the Glenravel rink skipped by Martin O’Neill as they claimed a notable scalp by beating Wesley Caldwell by a single shot margin.
BIBC still have some work to so in the second leg of their tie against third division All Saints, who will have another 20 shots to come on handicap.
It might have been an even bigger ask for the Old Ballymoney Road side but for a strong performance by their second half rinks.
Stephen Shields and Tommy Hill’s rinks had made good inroads into their deficit in the first half with wins over Nicholas Mitchell and Eugene McReynolds.
But the top flight side pressed the accelerator after the tea break with wins from David Duncan and Roy Torrington, who outscored Anthony Mitchell and Sean Haveron by 35 shots to 10.
JTI are another side who will have to produce a big performance in the second leg, where they will start off 13 shots down to Portglenone Community Centre - 10 of them the Ports’ handicap allowance.
Wins from Jim Gaul and Roy Hunter ensured the Bannsiders are well placed for the second leg in Clady, while Len McIlroy and Helen Lynn skipped winning rinks for JTI.
Harryville Community Centre should have enough of a cushion already established to ensure they progress at the expense of West Church, even though the church side will be receiving a further 10 shots.
Gary Worthington’s rink were the stand-out performers with a 20 shots to two win over Tommy Wilson, while the Casement Street side also won the other three rinks through Harold Smyth, David Wilkinson and Joe Patterson en route to a 21 shot win overall.
The all-Division Three clash between Eaton Park and Round Tower resulted in a six shot win for the rugby club side, whose rink wins came in the second half from John Carruthers and Gary Shaw.
Round Tower will perhaps feel they should have built upon their first half rink wins from Helen Totten and R Walker’s quartets but the tie is still intriguingly poised ahead of the second leg in Antrim.
No scorecard was received for the game between Antrim IBC and BPFA ‘B’ at the time of going to press.