Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena's drive for silverware glory goes up a gear

 

By Alex Mills

Ballymena will crank up their trophy challenge when they face Bangor in the final of the Irish Bowling Association's Senior Cup at Larne today (2pm).

The Sky Blues were popping the champagne on Thursday night after defeating Mossley in the PGL Cup final at Old Bleach, but there is another batch of champagne still on ice.

They will be hoping that lightning strikes twice when they line out against the Seasiders. The last time the teams met in the final of the top knockout tournament was back in 2008 when the PGL boys won with a bit to spare - it was Ballymena's maiden success.

But their silverware assault will not end there, because Ballymena still have the PGL title on their radar. Even though Dunbarton have built up an eight point advantage, the Sky Blues have played two games less.

In fact, the horrible weather conditions stopped them in their tracks on Tuesday night when the game at Belmont was abandoned after only eight ends as the green became submerged in rain - the home team were winning by eight shots.

So, Ballymena are braced for a crucial end to the season.

"We'll be looking no further than the cup final," said Graham Wilson. "We may have beaten them in the 2008 final but that means nothing.

"They are a great side and we'll need to be at our best. Thankfully we'll be a full strength."

Bangor have lifted the trophy on 10 previous occasions, but their last success was back in 2001.

On the plus side, Robert Hastings returns from holiday and will take his place in the side, which will also be at full strength.

Bangor, Rink 1: R McCutcheon, A Patterson, L Gamble, M Shannon.

Rink 2: S Curran, G Clarke, S Denley, K Taylor.

Rink 3: A Stewart, J Erskine, M Crawford, G Scott.

Rink 4: M Hastings, T Cannavan, T McClean, R Hastings.

Ballymena, Rink 1: JR Nicholl, R Coleman, A Coleman, S Coleman.

Rink 2: D Torrington, G Wilson, S Falls, N Robinson.

Rink 3: D Duncan, T Torrington, M Torrington, J Baker.

Rink 4: J Miller, N Garrett, A Morrison, A Duncan.

Fixtures

Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup final: Bangor v Ballymena (at Larne).

IBA Intermediate Cup final: Hilden v Ards (at Belmont).

IBA Junior Cup final: Dunbarton v Coleraine (at Falls).

Northern Ireland Private Greens League Division One: Belmont v Mossley, Old Bleach v Ewarts.

Northern Ireland Bowling Association Division One: Dungannon v Whitehead, Divis v Carrickfergus, Donaghadee v Dundonald.

Northern Ireland Provincial Bowling Association Senior League: Cookstown v Letterkenny, Portrush v Dunluce, Coleraine v Limvady, City of Derry v Ballymoney.

Belfast Telegraph

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