Belmont face difficult IBA Senior Cup route
Belmont's Davy Hamilton believes that if his team are to recapture the IBA Senior Cup, they must do it the hard way after being handed a daunting second-round tie against holders Old Bleach.
The east Belfast side have written their own little piece of history in the game's top knockout tournament, being the only team to have paraded the trophy in five successive seasons (2003-07).
Even though they have been nudged into the shadows in recent years, Belmont always pose the threat of adding to their eight overall cup wins - but their aspirations will be scrutinised when Old Bleach leave a calling card on May 23.
"You just couldn't have penned the script," said Hamilton following his team's first-round win over PGL Division Two side NICS at the weekend.
"It's a draw that neither ourselves or Old Bleach wanted, but that's the luck of the cup.
"We haven't won it for a few years and would like to improve on that, while Old Bleach will be in no mood to surrender the cup after winning it for the first time last season."
Both teams enjoyed a stress-free opening session on Saturday.
Belmont racked up an 82-64 win over NICS, with Robin Horner leading the charge by beating Ian Leonard 24-12.
Terry Crawford and Stuart Bennett also made a significant contribution by defeating Brian Leonard (17-14) and Alan Montgomery (20-16). Fred Murdock prevented a clean sweep with a 22-19 win against Roy Battersby.
Old Bleach steamed to a 60-shot win over NIBA Division Three side Clarendon, courtesy of rink wins from Neil Booth, Johnny Millar, Michael Nutt and James Talbot.
As Belmont, one of the great cup institutions, strive to improve their record, another has fallen dramatically from grace.
Fall Bowls Club suffered relegation from the PGL's Division One last season and their demise spiralled hopelessly out of control when they were thrashed 101-56 by local rivals Divis at the weekend.
Gerard McGleave was the pick of the Divis skips as he claimed a 29-15 win against Paul McEwan.
Michael McCafferty, Ronan Cregan and Paddy Rooney piled on the agony by beating Jim McGetterick (24-15), Jim Murgagh (28-14) and Peter McGarrity (20-12).
IBA Senior Cup, second round: Albert Foundry v Ballymoney, Bangor v Mossley, Belmont v Old Bleach, Coleraine v Portadown, Cookstown v St James's Gate, Crumlin v City of Derry, Dromore v Leinster, Dunbarton v Dunluce, Dundonald v Bray, CYM v Letterkenny, Larne v Lisnagarvey, Lurgan v Balmoral, Portrush v Pickie, Rathfriland v Carrick, Whitehead v Divis, Ballymena v Aer Lingus.
IBA Junior Cup: Balmoral v Castlerock, Bray v Old Bleach, Brookgreen v Rathfriland, Pickie v Willowfield, Falls v ICICYMA, Portadown v Lisnagarvey, Cookstown v Carrickfergus, Dunluce v Antrim, Forth River v Lurgan, Kilrea v Hilden, Letterkenny v Dunbarton, Portrush v Ewarts, Ulster Transport v Ballycastle, Westmanstown/Ballymoney v Coleraine, Whitehead v Dromore.