Belfast Telegraph

Old Bleach relishing Cup challenge, says Nutt

 

Major test: Michael Nutt
Major test: Michael Nutt

By Alex Mills

Old Bleach need no reminding of the most famous day in the club's history.

In fact, the celebrations carried on for quite some time following their epic IBA Senior Cup final win against Dunbarton back in 2014.

It was the first time the Randalstown club paraded the most coveted piece of silverware in Irish bowls - a day to remember on an August afternoon.

So, with a quarter-final shoot-out looming at Belmont today, the Bleach Boys could be forgiven for letting the minds run riot.

There is also a certain irony to the whole thing. On their way to that great Cup victory, they sent the highly-fancied Bangor crashing through the exit gates in the third round. The Seasiders made the same trip just last month.

However, Old Bleach now come up against a club that has written itself into the fabric of the Irish Cup.

Belmont are the only side to have hoisted the trophy on five successive occasions - a feat that will probably never be bettered. But when the sport's top knockout tournament reaches this stage it does become a lottery, so anything could happen in east Belfast this afternoon.

Old Bleach's Michael Nutt said: "We had a fantastic performance against Bangor in the last round, but we can't afford to dwell too much on that. They are a top side and were probably favourites, but we now face a similar type of challenge.

"Belmont have tremendous Cup pedigree and we know we'll have to be at our best - we know all about Belmont and they know all about us. It's a one-off game, so anything can happen. We're at full strength and looking forward to the challenge."

There is also a mouth-watering all-Provincial quarter-final clash down for decision with Ballymoney rolling out the welcome mat for Portrush.

The teams met in the quarter-final of the PBA Piggott Cup on Thursday at Ramore Head, and it was Ballymoney who booked a place in the last four.

Ballymoney's Willie McCaw said: "We managed to win that one, but this IBA Cup game will be different and Portrush will be looking for revenge."

Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Belmont v Old Bleach, Banbridge v Pickie, Ballymoney v Portrush, CYM v Whitehead.

Irish Bowling Association Intermediate Cup, quarter-finals: Belmont B v Markethill, Ballywalter v CI-Knock, Willowfield v City of Derry, BETS v Forth River.

Irish Bowling Association Junior Cup quarter-finals: Ballymoney B v Cookstown B, Dunbarton B v CYM B, Greenhills v Whitehead B, Mossley B v Coleraine B.

Northern Ireland Private Greens League Division One: Ballymena B v Pickie, Dunbarton v Ballymena, Salisbury v Ewarts.

Northern Ireland Bowling Association Division One: Bangor v Lurgan, Portadown v Sydenham, Dundonald v Londonderry Park.

Northern Ireland Provincial Bowling Association: Dunluce v Letterkenny.

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