Coleraine fell to a disappointing defeat in their defence of the IBA Senior Challenge Cup as they lost by 26 shots to a very strong Dunbarton at a sunny Lodge Road.
The Bannsiders were going into the match having won their opening four league games of the season and they would be out to put up a challenge as they looked to retain the trophy they do famously won last season. However, they couldn’t have asked for a tougher draw as Dunbarton won the Irish Cup in 2012 and they too had won all their league games to date so the stage was set for an epic tie.
It was the visitors who made the better start as they opened up an early 15-shot lead before they extended their advantage to 17 shots at the halfway stage of the game. Dunbarton extended their advantage to 32 shots at one stage before Coleraine reduced the deficit to 15 shots with five ends remaining as they looked like reeling the Gilford side in. It wasn’t to be as the visitors ran out comfortable winners by 26 shots.
On rink two, Victor Dallas had a close game with Conor McCartan. It was a good start from the home quartet as they opened up an early three shot lead on their opponents. Jordan Dallas, Jimmy O’Neill, Russell Miller and Victor Dallas continued their good early form as they moved nine shots clear at the halfway stage, playing some good bowls.
However, things changed for Dallas’ men as they let the visitors back into the game and they reduced the deficit to a single shot over the next three ends.
The Coleraine men regrouped and opened up a five shot lead with five ends remaining before they crashed to a 22-18 loss over the last three ends to leave the home rink bitterly disappointed.
The rink of Matthew Steen, Basil Kennedy, Stephen Brewster and Jonny Calvin had a difficult afternoon against Andrew Hughes’ visiting rink. Calvin’s men trailed by three shots after five ends of play before slipping 15 shots behind at the halfway stage of the game.
With five ends remaining, the home rink reduced the deficit to 13 shots as they began to pick up a few shots and it was a similar story by the end of the game as they lost out by a 25-12 score line.
Over on rink four, Ally Davison’s men had a narrow defeat against Myles Greenfield’s Dunbarton four. Paul O’Neill, Trevor Steele, Alan Irwin and Ally found themselves seven shots down after five ends played before they reduced the deficit to six shots at the halfway stage of the game.
Ally and his rink knuckled down and went on a scoring spree to leave themselves a single shot behind with five ends to go before they eventually fell to a 24-20 loss.
The rink of Mark Mason, David Reilly, Davy Gaile and Ian Ross had a tough afternoon against DJ Wilson’s quartet.
It was the visiting rink who started the brighter as they opened up an early five shot lead before they extended that advantage to 10 shots. Ross and his men kept battling hard and they cut the gap to six shots with five ends remaining before eventually falling to a 22-17 defeat.
It was a thoroughly disappointing day at the office for the Bannsiders as they crashed out of the Irish Senior Cup at the second round stage in the defence of their title. It is the Lodge Road side’s first home Irish Cup defeat in six years.
Dunbarton played the better bowls throughout and will be one of the favourites to regain the trophy they last won in 2012. Despite the defeat, Coleraine know they must pick themselves up again as they travel to Cookstown on Monday night to play a side level on points with them in the Senior League table, as they look to maintain their title challenge.