Ballymena A took to the Old Ballymoney Road green on Tuesday night against Belmont in the first of three league matches last week.
The Ballymena team had obviously not been able to get the disappointment of the Irish Cup defeat the previous Saturday out of their system and they fell to an unusually heavy 102-65 defeat.
J R Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman, Steven Coleman were behind against S Bennett after 2 counts of 6 shots on the 3rd and 7th ends saw the visitors take a 16-10 lead. Four ends later Coleman’s men had reduced the arrears to 3 shots but it was the visitors who finished the stronger to claim a 26-17 win.
James Gaston, Michael Wilson, Mark Torrington and Andrew Morrison made a great start against R Horner and with only 6 ends completed the Braid men had opened up a 7 shot advantage but by the 10th end the visitors had drawn level at 15-15. Two shots on the next end gave the Morrison rink the lead again but the Belmont rink picked up 7 shots over the next 4 ends to establish a 6 shot cushion. The Braid men replied with 4 consecutive singles but victory eluded the Ballymena rink when the visitors picked up 3 shots over the remaining ends to win 26-21.
Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Roy Torrington and Andi Duncan took on R Battersby and after 7 ends the scores were tied at 6-6. Six ends later the 2 rinks could still not be separated with the score board reading 10-10. Unfortunately for Duncan’ s men they could only score on another 2 ends and the visitors had opened up a 7 shots advantage to win 19-12.
It was a tough night for Rod Coleman, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls and Nigel Robinson who were on the back foot against T Crawford, who scored consecutive counts of three on the opening two ends.
Robinson’s men repaired some of the damage over the next 5 ends to reduce the deficit to a single shot but no matter what the Ballymena rink did the men from Belfast had the answer to record a 31-15 victory.
Ballymena A (71) Ulster Transport (62):
Due to the unavailability of quite a few players a much changed Ballymena team travelled to Ulster Transport last Thursday night and the players who came in acquitted themselves very well as the Braid men claimed a moral boosting victory.
On rink 1 J R Nicholl, Rod Coleman, Jimmy Hodges and Roy Torrington made a terrible start against D McCartney and with 6 ends played they trailed 13-0. The Braid men recovered well to cut the deficit to only 6 shots as they lost 19-13.
Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Nigel Robinson and Jim Baker made a slow start against R Fiddis and trailed 10-5 after 10 ends. Three ends later however the Ballymena men had fought back to level the game at 10-10 but it was to no avail as the Transport rink scored successive 2’s over the next 4 ends en route to an 18-13 win.
Billy McCandless, John Coulter, Alistair Coleman and Steven Coleman were in great form against M Trew, particularly in the final two-thirds of the contest, where the Ballymena men racked up another 16 shots to claim an emphatic 23-8 victory.
James Gaston, Geoff Padgett, Steven Falls and Andrew Morrison were involved in a high scoring game against B Faulkner which was eventually settled in Ballymena’s favour as they outscored Transport by 7 shots to 1 over the final ends to claim a hard fought 22-17 victory.
Ballymena A (85) Pickie A (59): The third game in this weeks NIPGL Division 1 trilogy took place last Saturday when the Ballymena men made the trip to Pickie and it turned out to be a good day for the Braid men who won on 3 of the 4 rinks to record a well deserved 26 shot victory
J R Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman, Steven Coleman won 6 of the first 10 ends against P Campbell however they still found themselves on the wrong side of a 10-6 score line and the home rink picked up 4 singles over the closing game to win 18-12.
Three shots on the first end got James Gaston, Michael Wilson, Mark Torrington and Jim Baker off to a good start against N Belch and they also finished strongly with 5 shots over the last 2 ends for a 22-11 win.
David Duncan, Neal Garrett, Nigel Robinson and Andi Duncan also made a good start against M Caughey and Duncan’s men hit a purple patch in the middle of the game when they picked up 11 unanswered shots and went on to win 25-17.
Alan McAuley, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls and Andrew Morrison were in fine form against A Lightbody and had 13 shots to spare in a 26-13 win.
Ballymena have no game this Saturday as they have 5 players involved in the Irish Bowling Association Championships. The final league match of the season is next Tuesday night when they entertain leaders Dunbarton.