Coleraine hoping to finally end their 90-year Cup wait

Coleraine Bowling Club were the first Provincial side to win the IBA Senior Cup, back in 1921 when they defeated Ballymena in the final.

The Bannsiders lost out by a single shot to the Braidmen in the semi-final the year before at Coleraine before exacting revenge on their rivals the following year.

Coleraine were handed a bye in the first round of the Irish Cup in 1921 before they defeated Bangor at home in the second round by ten shots, 83-73. The Lodge Road men were on their travels in the quarter final as they faced Larne in what was expected to be a tough game. It was far from it as the visitors cruised to a 106-71 victory with J.A. Love’s rink winning by 30 shots to 16. In the semi-final, Coleraine faced Belfast club Belmont at Cavehill Bowling Club. Facing defeat at fifteen ends, the County Londonderry lads stuck in and sealed a five shot victory over their illustrious opponents, defeating Belmont by the scoreline of 76-71.

In the final at Ballymena on Saturday 20th August 1921, the Lodge Road men came racing out of the traps as they led by 17 shots after five ends before extending their advantage to 20 shots after 10 ends of play. Despite the best efforts of the locals, Coleraine sealed a superb eight shot victory and with it, the Irish Bowling Association Senior Challenge Cup.

Records are a bit patchy for the 1930’s and 40’s, however, throughout the 50’s/60’s and 70’s, Coleraine had a formidable side with some world class players such as Roy Fulton and Charlie Taylor playing for them. Having been knocking at the door on numerous occasions, the Bannsiders could never quite reach the final of the Irish Cup, despite being rated as one of the best sides in Ireland at the time.

The 80’s, 90’s and 00’s brought further heartache for the Lodge Road men as they collected plenty of domestic trophies along the way. They even claimed the coveted NI Railways Inter-Association Club Championship in 1985 at Ward Park, Bangor.

But the best they could achieve in the IBA Senior cup was several semi final appearances in 1993, 1996, 1997. 2012 brought yet another semi-final appearance for the Bannsiders but this time they lost out to NIPBA rivals Ballymoney.