Bannsiders ready to defend their Senior title

Coleraine begin the defence of their Irish Cup crown on Saturday at home to Dunbarton in the Irish Senior Cup second round,and it is sure to be a titanic tussle between the 2013 and 2012 winners.

Coleraine captain Jordan Dallas and his dad Victor celebrate their team's win over Ballymoney in last year's final of the IBA Senior Cup at Belmont Bowling Club. John McIlwaine/Press Eye

If you’re at a loose end on Saturday, why not come down to cheer on the Bannsiders?

There is sure to be a good crowd down to cheer on the Lodge Road lads, whilst Domino’s will be down from 1pm to offer their support and give away free pizza, vouchers and prizes to spectators, and for the kids Danny Domino will be making an appearance too.

Meanwhile, Coleraine claimed five and a half points after an excellent 24-shot victory against a strong Portglenone on Saturday afternoon at a blustery Gortgole Road.

It was the visitors who opened up a slender lead early on as they claimed a four shot advantage over the home side before a rampant Coleraine took the bull by the horns and pulled 27 shots clear of the ‘Wee Port’ at the halfway stage. Portglenone fought hard but could only reduce the deficit to 20 shots with five ends remaining before the Bannsiders sealed an excellent 24-shot victory.

On rink one, Ally Davison’s four had a superb win over Eamonn McCann’s men. It was a good start from the visiting quartet as they led by six shots early on, however, they really hit top gear as they streaked 18-0 in front after nine ends of play.

Trevor Steele, David Reilly, Alan Irwin and Ally continued their good form as they moved 20 shots clear, with the rink playing good bowls, in particular Alan Irwin. Despite a valiant fightback from the home foursome, Davison’s men ran out 26-11 victors to lay a solid foundation for the team. The rink of Mark Mason, Joe McCarry, David Gaile and Ian Ross had a close encounter against Stephen Smyth’s quartet. Ross’ men trailed by four shots after five ends of play before narrowing the deficit to a single shot at the halfway stage.

With five ends remaining, Ross and his men had claimed a one shot advantage of their own as they got back into the game before they agonisingly lost by a single shot in the last end, as they lay three shots before Smyth drew the shot with his last bowl to leave the score at 17-16 in favour of the Portglenone rink.

Over on rink four, Jonny Calvin’s men had a very good victory against Sean Quinn’s Portglenone four. Matthew Steen, Basil Kennedy, Stephen Brewster and Jonny found themselves all square with the opposition early on before opening up a six shot lead at the halfway stage in the game. However, Quinn’s men turned the game on its head as they took a four shot lead with five ends to play, leaving the Coleraine men with a tough task to get back into the game.

Calvin and his rink regrouped and following counts of six and three in the last two ends, they ran out 28-18 victors to claim another vital point for the visitors. The rink of Jordan Dallas, Jimmy O’Neill, Russell Miller and Victor Dallas had a hard fought battle with Joe Moore on rink three.

It was nip and tuck early on as the visiting four opened up an early two shot advantage on their hosts before they extended their lead to seven shots at the halfway stage. However, Moore’s rink fought back and with a bit of good fortune at times, they reduced the deficit to three shots with five ends remaining. Dallas’ men went into the last shot carrying a one shot lead, however, it was a cruel end to the game for the visitors as luck played its part in the home rink claiming a single to leave the scores tied at 15-15, leaving Coleraine with 5.5 points out of a possible seven.

It was a great victory for Coleraine and one that they fully deserved to win, having led from start to finish against a very good Portglenone side. The Bannsiders still remain in second spot in the NIPBA Senior League, on 23.5 points, level with Cookstown and three points behind leaders Ballymoney. Next up in the league for Coleraine is a thrilling contest away to Cookstown on Monday 26th May.