Belfast Telegraph

Bangor and Whitehead in crunch double clash

 

By Alex Mills

Robert Hastings admits Bangor face a make or break four days.

The Seasiders today travel to face NIBA rivals Whitehead in an Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup semi-final at Willowfield.

Then, on Tuesday, the sides will again go head-to-head in what will be an NIBA Division One title decider at Ward Park.

Both clubs are currently locked on 91 points with only three games remaining, Bangor sitting top on shot advantage.

But it's the Irish Cup tie that will be an immediate priority for both. The County Down club haven't had hands on the sport's top knockout prize since 2001, while Whitehead are still craving a maiden success.

"We are now down the business end of the season, so it's down to whoever holds their nerve when it matters," said Bangor ace Hastings.

"It's a big four days for both clubs, with a place in the Irish Cup final up for grabs. Then, when we meet again on Tuesday, it will almost certainly be a title decider because after that there will be only two matches left.

"However, we'll be focusing on the cup tie first and foremost. We've a full squad of players available, so we'll be giving it our best shot."

Whitehead haven't been so fortunate because they will be missing new boy Ryan McKeown and Michael Crooks - both are off on a pre-booked holiday. Michael Stewart and Alan Hill will be drafted into the side.

In the other semi-final at Old Bleach, Ballymena will lock horns with Provincial side Ballymoney.

The Sky Blues suffered a home defeat by Old Bleach earlier in the week - a result that derailed their ambitions of pipping Dunbarton to the Private Greens League Division One title.

Although they have played one game less, they are seven-and-a-half points adrift of the Gilford side, with games running out.

Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup semi-finals: Whitehead v Bangor (at Willowfield); Ballymoney v Ballymena (at Old Bleach).

Irish Bowling Association Intermediate Cup semi-finals: Dungiven v Hilden (at Forth River); Ards v Comber (at Pickie).

Irish Bowling Association Junior Cup semi-finals: Dunbarton v Larne (at Lisnagarvey); Coleraine v St James's Gate (at Banbridge).

NI Private Greens League Division One: Ballymena v Dunbarton, Larne v Ballywalter, Belmont v Falls, Ewarts v Pickie, Old Bleach v Mossley.

NI Bowling Association Division One: Dundonald v Carrickfergus, Dungannon v Banbridge, Divis v Balmoral, Donaghadee v Portadown.

NI Provincial Bowling Association Senior League: City of Derry v Limavady.

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