Provincial heavyweights clash for coveted place in cup quarter-finals

�/Presseye.com - 4tth June 2011.  Press Eye Ltd - Irish ''Bowling Association Senior Inter Association Championship at City of Derry Bowling Club.''Gary Kelly (NIPBA).''Mandatory Credit Photo Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com
�/Presseye.com - 4tth June 2011. Press Eye Ltd - Irish ''Bowling Association Senior Inter Association Championship at City of Derry Bowling Club.''Gary Kelly (NIPBA).''Mandatory Credit Photo Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com

Provincial giants, Ballymoney and Portrush, go head-to-head tomorrow with a place in the quarter finals of the IBA Senior Cup up for grabs.

With both teams neck-and-neck at the top of the Senior League table, it means this cup showdown will have a little bit of added spice.

Ballymoney have certainy been knocking at the door of breaking their duck in the sport’s top knockout tournament, having experienced the agony of being beaten in two finals over the past four years.

It’s usually an explosive affair when the Ramore Head boys make the journey to Church Street – and this one should be no different.

“At least we have home advantage,” said Ballymoney’s Gary Kelly. “It will be a tough game, there is no doubt that.

“But we have been playing quite well, having been beaten only once in the league campaign so far. We are at full strength – we are looking forward to it.”

Portrush, however, will be without Adam Wilson and Trevor Robinson, missing due to work commitments.

Victory would keep the seaside town boys in course for a trophy treble. Their Piggot Cup final against City of Derry was rained off after only seven ends at the weekend.

Meanwhile, another Provincial side, Cookstown, are due to enter the ‘lion’s den’ against in-form Ballymena, the 2010 cup winners.

The County Antrim team have been in superb form, given the fact that they lost two of last season’s league title winning side – Marty McHugh and Andy Duncan.

They’ll be at full strength for what could well be a banana skin tie.

“We’ll certainly be taking nothing for granted, even though we have home advantage,” said Ballymena’s Graham Wilson.

“It could well be one of our toughest tests of the season even though Cookstown have been blowing hot and cold in their league campaign.”

Ballymena are another club with sights set on a trophy haul, come the ends of the campaign. They currently top the PGL Division One table, while they will face Cliftonville inthe quarter finals of the PGL Cup on a date yet to be confirmed.

The Sky Blues they still have two rain-affected league games left to complete.

There are six ends left in the showdown against Belmont, while there are 13 ends to complete in their match against Ulster Transport.

Fixtures

IBA Senior Cup, fourth round: Ballymena v Cookstown, Ballymoney v Portrush, Coleraine v Banbridge, Divis v Lurgan, Dunbarton v Falls, Letterkenny v Ballywalter, Newtownabbey v Bangor, Whitehead v Belmont.

IBA Junior Cup, fourth round: Westmanstown v Sydenham, Ballycastle v Dungiven, Ballymena v Castleton, Ballymoney v Downpatrick, CYM v Larne, Dunbarton v Dun Laogharie, Limavady v Pickie, Skerries v BETS.