Old Bleach are hoping to deliver a message to trophy rivals
Old Bleach and Pickie may be battling it out at the top of the Private Greens League Division One table but their dreams of double glory will be put to the test on Thursday night.
The Randalstown boys maintained their excellent form by grinding out a home draw with Belmont at the weekend, while Pickie enhanced their growing reputation by gobbling up five points from their visit to Ballymena.
Even though both clubs are striding clear, something must give when they clash in the quarter-finals of the PGL Senior Club at Broadway in three days' time.
"It's a massive game for both teams," admits Old Bleach's Michael Nutt. "We managed to get our hands on the trophy for the first time a few years back and it would be nice to do it again.
"But Pickie have been playing really well this season. They have been one of the form teams. However, we are also happy at how things are panning out. It has the makings of a great cup tie."
Table-topping Old Bleach, who have established an eight-point gap over their nearest challengers, were taken to the wire by a battling Belmont side on Saturday.
The Belfast team left with three and a half points following an epic contest. Robin Horner and Roy Battersby toasted significant victories against Brian Trimble (22-10) and Nutt (22-17).
But Old Bleach replied through Johnny Millar and James Talbot, who defeated Stuart Bennett (17-13) and Davy Hamilton (24-11).
Pickie suggested they are in the title race for the long haul with that tremendous win over former champions Ballymena, pocketing five of the seven points on offer.
Alex Lightbody was the Seasiders' top performer, skipping his rink to a 22-17 win over Jim Baker, while Neil Belch chipped in with a telling 22-20 victory over Stephen Coleman.
The Sky Blues hit back through Nigel Robinson and Andy Duncan, who defeated Peter Campbell (22-19) and Billy Angus (19-18).
Ulster Transport, meanwhile, turned in their best display of the season to put a huge dent in the title aspirations of Dunbarton, the Jordanstown boys lifting six points in their impressive 83-67 victory.
Results, NI Private Green League Division One: Ulster Transport 83 (6) Dunbarton 67 (1), Ballymena 78 (2) Pickie 81 (5), Old Bleach 68 (3.5) Belmont 68 (3.5), Ards 60 (0) Larne 112 (7), Willowield 81 (5) Ewarts 74 (2).
Northern Ireland Bowling Association Division One: Bangor 82 (6) Dundonald 64 (1), Lisnagarvey 75 (2) Divis 82 (5), Carrick 93 (7) Lurgan 66 (0), Portadown 95 (7) Balmoral 61 (0), Banbrige 72 (2) Whitehead 82 (5).
NI Provincial Bowling Association Senior League: City of Derry 56 (0) Portrush 95 (7), Cookstown 96 (6) Limavady 57 (1), Ballycastle 62 (1) Letterkenny 83 (6), Portglenone 50 (0) Dunluce 120 (7), Coleraine 63 (1.5) Ballymoney 78 (5.5).