Seniors clinch Irish Cup final place

BALLYMENA Seniors travelled to Ballymoney Bowling Club last Saturday to play Portrush in the semi-final of the Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup.

This was always going to be a tough game as Portrush defeated Dunbarton in the previous round, however, the Ballymena men put in an excellent performance to progress in to the final after an 83-64 win.

On rink 1 Steven Shields, Graham Wilson, Andrew Morrison and Nigel Robinson settled down well against I McClure and by 6 ends the Ballymena men led by 6 shots.

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The Portrush rink hit back over the next 4 ends to draw level at 9-9, however the remainder of the game belonged to the Braid rink who only conceded 3 more shots on their way to a fine 22-12 victory.

The scores were level on rink 2 after 5 ends where David Torrington, Andrew Bonnar, Jonathan Millar and Jim Baker took on E Curran.

The Portrush rink then took the initiative when they won 7 of the next 8 ends to go in to a 15-8 lead, but to their credit the Ballymena rink dug in over the remaining ends to reduce the arrears to only 4 shots to leave the final score 22-18.

David Duncan, Mark Torrington, Andrew Duncan and Andrew Kyle were drawn against K O'Neill on rink 3.

This was a very close affair with only 1 or 2 shots separating the two rinks over the first 14 ends. The game changed in favour of the Ballymena men as they picked up a massive count of 7 shots on the next end to lead by 6 shots. Again the closing ends were close, but the Braid men held on to record a 21-17 victory.

Steven Falls, Jimmy Hodges, Sammy Allen and Steven Coleman made a dream start against J Smyth on rink 4. They gave the Portrush men no time to settle down as they piled up the shots to take a 16 shot lead after 12 ends.

The Braid men however could not maintain this run as the Portrush men won the next 7 ends to get within 5 shots of Coleman's men but the Ballymena rink won the final 2 ends to run out deserved winners by 22 shots to 13.

The Seniors will play Ballymoney in the final in a couple of weeks time, but in the meantime the Ballymena men have a couple of vital league matches and are also involved in another final when they play NICS in the final of the NIPGL Cup at Larne on Thursday night.

The Seniors are next back in action on Tuesday (tonight) when Ewarts are the visitors in the NIPGL Senior League Division 1.