Bangor bowlers to face Balmoral
Bangor's exemplary Irish Senior Cup record goes under scrutiny when they face Balmoral in the third round at Ward Park tomorrow.
It's a fixture that neither of the NIBA giants wanted at this stage, but something must give!
The Seasiders, 10-times winners of the top knock-out trophy, are looking to reach their third successive final.
They will require no reminding of those games due to the fact that they lost heavily in both — to Belmont and Ballymena respectively.
Bangor's Rodney McCutcheon has worn the cup tee-shirt many times, having hoisted the glittering prize on eight occasions.
He insists the winner of tomorrow's tie could well go the distance in the tournament.
"We had a really difficult first round match against another good NIBA side, Dundonald. They were unbeaten going into the game.
"Now we face Balmoral — they don't come much harder," insists the Bangor man.
"It means that one of the potential cup winners will make an early exit.
"Realistically, it's a big ask for us to reach another final.
"We didn't turn up for the previous two, soundly beaten in both.
"The draw has been really unkind to ourselves and Balmoral, who will go into the game with confidence because they have already beaten us at Ward Park in the league this season."
McCutcheon has amazingly graced 12 Senior Cup finals - a record that may never be bettered.
"I'm proud of the fact that I've been a winner on eight occasions," he adds.
"I would certainly love to add to my medal collection.
“But we will be looking no further than Saturday's game, our most difficult of the season so far."
Meanwhile, cup holders Ballymena will be hoping to take a little revenge for the Private Greens League when they face Bowling League of Ireland side Blackrock at Old Ballymoney Road.
The BLI created a little piece of history in Dublin last week by winning the IBA Inter-association Championship for the first time ever.
Ballymena, who also lifted the Junior Cup 12 months ago, will require little motivation with their trophy on the line.
IBA Senior Cup, 3rd round: North Down v Newtownabbey, Ards v Dunbarton, Ballymena v Blackrock, Castleton v Musgrave, Donaghadee v Portrush, Crumlin v Lisnagarvey, Bangor v Balmoral, Ballymoney v Ulster Transport, Portadown v Whitehead, Limavady v Cookstown, City of Derry v Ballywalter, Brooke Park v Portglenone, Coleraine v Old Bleach, Markethill v Willowfield, Carrickfergus v Pickie, Lurgan v Banbridge.
IBA Junior Cup: Ballymoney v 13th Old Boys, Clontarf v Balmoral, Shankill v Antrim, Crumlin v Dun Laogharie, Cookstown v City of Derry, Moat Park v Coleraine, Belmont v Queen's Island, Dungiven v Willowfield, Ballymena v Curran, Larne v Kilrea, St James' Gate v Whitehead, 58th Old Boys v Dunbarton, Falls v Dromore, Lurgan v Belfast, Castlerock v Downpatrick, CYM v Old Bleach
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