Coleraine claimed five and a half points after a superb eight shot victory against table-toppers, Ballymoney on Monday night at Church Street.
The Bannsiders were going into the match having won seven on the trot, as they sat in fourth place in the Senior League table. Ballymoney went into the game having disposed of Portrush at home in the Irish Cup on Saturday, whilst maintaining their unbeaten home record.
The game was evenly balanced early on as the home side held a slender one shot advantage after five ends, however, within one end across the green, Coleraine turned the deficit into a 10-shot lead. The visitors continued to apply pressure on the hosts and they soon extended their lead out to 19 shots at the halfway stage following good bowling from the boys in red. There was no let up from the Lodge Road men as they widened the gap to a yawning 30 shots after 17 ends of play, whilst leading on three of the four rinks. Ballymoney fought back but Coleraine closed out the game to seal an excellent eight shot victory.
On rink two, Jonathan Calvin’s four played very well to come out on top against Brian McAlary. The visitors trailed by a single shot early on before scoring heavily over the next few ends to take a 17-6 lead at the halfway stage. It was a similar pattern as the game progressed with the visiting rink building heads and converting them into shots as they moved 15 shots clear of McAlary’s quartet before eventually sealing an excellent 28-15 victory. The rink of Mark Mason, Trevor Steele, Joe McCarry and Ian Ross had a very good win against Gary Kelly’s four.
There was nothing to separate the two rinks early on as they cancelled each other out after five ends of play before the visitors took a three shot lead at the halfway stage. Ross and his men continued to play good bowls, with the Coleraine skip drawing particularly well to extend their advantage to 10 shots with five ends remaining, and they eventually sealed a hard fought 25-21 win against Kelly’s quartet.
On rink four, Victor Dallas’ men had a hard fought battle with Alastair Steele before eventually drawing their game. Jordan Dallas, Jimmy O’Neill, Basil Kennedy and Victor couldn’t be separated from the hosts as they were tied at 2-2 after five ends. It was nip and tuck for a few ends thereafter as the scores were still level at the halfway stage, until Dallas and his rink began to push on and claimed a four on the 17th end to take a six shot lead.
Luck was against the visitors on the next end as they lost the shot and eventually lost their advantage as the game finished 15-15. The rink of Paul O’Neill, Mark Broderick, David Reilly and Alan Irwin had a tough game against Willie McCaw before they eventually slipped to defeat. McCaw’s four led by two shots early on before Irwin and his men took a two shot advantage of their own after 10 ends played. It was a topsy-turvy game as the home quartet regained their two shot lead with five ends to go before they sealed a 23-14 victory to clinch Ballymoney’s solitary rink win.
It was a rip-roaring contest and one that Coleraine fully deserved to win against a very good Ballymoney side. The Church Street team were previously unbeaten at home and still top the Senior League, however, Coleraine have narrowed the gap to eight points now as the title race hots up. It was a polished performance from the Bannsiders as they romped to a 30-shot lead after 17 ends before claiming five and a half of the seven points on offer. Next up for the Lodge Road men is a home game against Portrush on Saturday 6 July, in what is sure to be a mammoth tussle as both sides battle it out with Ballymoney for the title.
Coleraine Bowling Club are launching their new club history book this Saturday, July 6th at 8pm. All members past and present, friends and family are invited to come along to the event at the Lodge Road venue. There will be a light supper and entertainment.