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Ballymena still in running for treble of trophies

By David Mason

Published 15/08/2016

Turning up the heat: Portadown’s Andy Millar takes on Bangorcess
Turning up the heat: Portadown’s Andy Millar takes on Bangorcess

Ballymena could potentially end the season in a blaze of glory.

The Sky Blues punched their ticket to final of the Irish Bowling Association's Senior Cup final following their impressive win over Portrush at Ballymoney on Saturday.

They will meet their Private Greens League rivals Belmont in the showcase decider on August 27 at venue yet to be confirmed.

But just 48 hours before that, Ballymena will face Dunbarton in the PGL Senior Cup final.

It could get even better for the boys from the Braid because they are still very much in contention at the top of the PGL Division One table, although Belmont remain favourites to retain the title.

"We are in two finals, but we've won nothing yet," said Ballymena's Jim Baker. "It's nice to be back in the IBA Cup final again. We haven't won the trophy since 2010. Ironically, we won the PGL Cup the same year.

"But we face two difficult matches in the respective finals."

Baker was in inspirational form in his team's 78-62 win against Portrush, skipping his rink to a 19-11 win against Simon Colvin. Andy Duncan also claimed a significant 27-16 success against Gary McCloy.

But the Provincial boys refused to toss in the towel and hit back through Jackie Smyth and Ian McClure, who defeated Nigel Robinson (19-17) and Stephen Coleman (18-15).

In the other semi final at Ballymena, Belmont were much too slick for Cookstown, winning 84-65. Stuart Bennett was Belfast side's top performer, skipping his rink to a 22-16 win against Liam McHugh. The other skips were not far behind with Roy Battersby, Simon Martin and Robin Horner claiming victories against Sean Quinn (19-15), Mark Wilson (24-17) and Damien McElroy (21-17).

Results: Irish Bowling Association Senior cup semi finals: Portrush 62 Ballymena 78, Belmont 84 Cookstown 65.

IBA Intermediate Cup semi finals: Shaftesbury 68 Ards 96, Bessbrook 71 Belmont C 73.

IBA Junior Cup semi finals: Ballymoney 66 C'stown 95, Belmont C 78 Ballymena C 77

Northern Ireland Bowling Association Division One: Dundonald 72 (2) Banbridge 80 (5), Donaghadee 70 (1) Whitehead 89 (6), Lisnagarvey 102 (5) Dromore 74 (2), Bangor 103 (5.5) Portadown 59 (1.5).

NI Private Greens League Division One: NICS 68 (1) Dunbarton 102 (6), Mossley 80 (0) Larne 91 (7).

NI Provincial Bowling Association Senior League: Coleraine 70 (5) Letterkenny 46 (2), City of Derry 81 (5) Dunluce 79 (2), Portglenone 81 (5) Limavady 83 (2).

Belfast Telegraph

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