COLERAINE Bowling Club have been handed a tough start in their defence of the IBA Senior Cup after the draw for this year’s competition was made last week.
The Bannsiders lifted the famous old trophy for only the second time in the club’s history when they defeated fellow Provincial club Ballymoney in the showpiece final at Belmont.
But if they are to repeat the feat this year they will have to do it the hard way after they were paired with 2012 winners Dunbarton.
“We start our defence of the Irish Senior Cup with a very difficult tie at home to Dunbarton on Saturday 24th May in the second round of the competition,” club captaine Jordan Dallas told Times Sport.
“The game has already been billed as the ‘tie of the round’ so we’ll expect a big crowd down for the game.
“Winning the competition last year was not only a great day for everyone connected with the club, but for the town itself.
“It may have been our first appearance in the final since 1921, but it didn’t matter -- we made the most of it.”
Coleraine will also be hoping to put in a strong performance in this year’s NIPBA Senior League, which kicks off at the end of April.
“In the Senior League we open up with a home match against newly promoted Kilrea on Saturday 26th April,” said Jordan.
“We then face our rivals Portrush at Lodge Road on Saturday 3rd May before travelling to Donegal on Saturday 10th May to do battle with a tough Letterkenny side.
“In the Piggot Cup, we face a difficult journey away to Letterkenny in the quarter final on Thursday May 15th, so it’s going to be another big season for us.”
Elsewhere, Coleraine B received a fairly good draw in the Irish Junior Cup second round as they will play host to Cavehill B on Saturday 24th May with a 5.30pm start due to the Seniors being at home to Dunbarton.
The Juniors haven’t lifted the Irish Junior Cup title in 18 years so they will be out to follow in the footsteps of the Senior team’s terrific Senior Cup win at Belmont last year over Ballymoney.
In Division One, Coleraine B face a trip to Dungiven on Tuesday 15th April before playing host to Portrush B on Tuesday 22nd April.
They then travel the short distance down the town to Brook Street to tackle neighbours, Brookgreen on Tuesday 29th.
In the Sutherland Cup, Coleraine Juniors travel to Dunluce B in the first round on Friday 2nd May, hoping to go one better than their loss in the final last year.
Culrathain play host to Ballycastle B in Division Two on Wednesday 23rd April and then face newcomers, Letterkenny B on Wednesday 30th April at Lodge Road before travelling to Riada on Wednesday 7th May.
In the Hyland Donaghey Cup, they face a home tie against Limavady B on Thursday 1st May.