Holders Larne aim to do the Cup double over in-form Belmont
Simon Bell is hoping lightning can strike twice as Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup holders Larne put their trophy on the line in a mouth-watering second round meeting at Belmont today.
The east Antrim club ended a 59-year wait when the game's most famous piece of silverware returned to Glenarm Road following an epic victory over Whitehead.
Ironically, it was on the green of today's opponents that the champagne corks popped, Larne defying the odds to rack up a 27-shots win.
But they now face the ultimate test against the Irish Cup aristocrats because Belmont are a side that know a thing or two about this tournament - they are still the only team to hoist the trophy for five successive seasons, from 2003 to 2007.
The east Belfast boys are now on the prowl for their ninth cup success and will go into today's showdown as hot favourites to book a slot against either Dunluce or Dundonald on June 22.
"We had a tough run of games before we met Whitehead in the final last season, which included Old Bleach, Cookstown, Coleraine and Belmont, so hopefully we can keep that run going," said Bell.
"It's probably the toughest draw of the lot, but we managed to defeat Belmont last season at the quarter-final stage, so we'll give it a good go. We'll require little motivation for this game."
Larne will have 15 of the 16 players that contested the cup final on show at Belmont today, including young Jayden Kyle - son of Irish international Andy - who at 14 years of age became one of the youngest players to mount the winners' rostrum.
Fixtures: Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup, round two: Banbridge v Dun Laoghaire, Old Bleach v Falls, Ewarts v Ballymena B, Dunluce v Dundonald, Blackrock v Whitehead, Bray v Pickie, CYM v Sydenham, Portrush v Clarendon, Portadown v Albert Foundry, Leinster v Crumlin, Coleraine v Dunbarton, Cookstown v Ballymena, Limavady v Salisbury, Belmont v Larne, Donaghadee v Ballymoney.
Irish Bowling Association Intermediate Cup, round two: Ards v Downpatrick, City of Derry v Comber, Castlerock v North Down, Forth River v North Belfast, NICS v Dungiven, Belmont B v Westmanstown, Kilrea v Ormeau, Gilnahirk v Ballywalter, Carrickfergus v BETS, Cliftonville v Ulster Maple Leaf, CI-Knock v Rathfriland, Bessbrook v Dungannon, Brooke Park v Mossley, Willowfield v Skerries, Ulster Transport v Hilden, Curran v Markethill.
Irish Bowling Association Junior Cup, round two: Whitehead B v Old Bleach B, Donaghadee B v Dunbarton B, Balmoral B v Ulster Transport B, Cookstown B v Ards B, Ballymoney B v Malone, Limavady B v Westmanstown B, Mossley B v Ballymena C, Greenhills v Larne B, Dunluce B v Belmont C, Willowfield B v Banbridge B, Crumlin B v Lurgan B, Pickie B v Ewarts B, St James's Gate v Dun Laogharie B, CYM B v Portrush B.