POV 5 Second Round of IBA Senior and Junior Cups

PG Senior Cup

Ards v Cavehill

Ballymena A v Larne

Dunbarton v Ballywalter

Shaftesbury v Falls

Willowfield v Ballymena B

Hilden v Ewarts

Pickie v Salisbury

Belmont v Old Bleach

Most of the ties seem easy to predict with teams in different divisions playing each other and in those cases I find it hard to make a case for the lower team to progress. Ballymena get to welcome Andy Kyle back when Larne visit and I wonder will the draw pit him against his PG third Steven Coleman? I favour the home team to progress in a close match. Belmont host Old Bleach for the first of two cup encounters in 3 days. Old Bleach are flying at the moment and will go into the match filled with optimism. I predict whoever wins the PG Cup match loses the IBA cup match on Saturday.

IBA Senior Cup

Albert Foundry v Ballymoney

Bangor v Mossley

Belmont v Old Bleach

Dunbarton v Dunluce

Larne v Lisnagarvey

Portrush v Pickie

Ballymena v Aer Lingus

Not being unkind to Division 5 Albert Foundry but their best chance of progressing to the third round of the IBA Senior Cup is if Ballymoney can’t find their green. Ballymoney are unbeaten in the league this season and sit second in the NIPBA table so it is a real David vs Goliath task for Albert Foundry. Mossley are in excellent form but the trip to Bangor might be a step too far for them. As I said earlier I think Belmont vs Old Bleach will be won by the losers of the PG Cup match. Dunbarton will be glad of home advantage against Dunluce and should win. Larne v Lisnagarvey is a hard one to call. I’ll back the PG side at home but they will need to play well to prove me right. Pickie face a long trip to Portrush in an intriguing matchup. Both sides are going well in their league and unfortunately I think home advantage will be the difference. Ballymena face Aer Lingus in the final tie. Aer Lingus are unbeaten in the league but I think the Ballymena men will prevail.

IBA Junior Cup

Bray v Old Bleach

Falls v ICICYMA

Forth River v Lurgan

Kilrea v Hilden

Letterkenny v Dunbarton

Pickie v Willowfield

Portrush v Ewarts

Ulster Transport v Ballycastle

Old Bleach and Dunbarton face long journeys but I think both will find the trip worthwhile. Falls will be glad they are at home and don’t have to travel to Cork. Imagine listening to Pat Butler for that length of time! Lurgan B are unbeaten and top of Division 5 in the NIBA so it looks like a tough match for Forth River. Hilden travel to a Kilrea side that top Division 2 in the NIPBA so will likely face a tough task. Pickie host Willowfield in an all PG Division 4 tie. Pickie have had a slow start to their season but I think they edge this one. Ewarts are scheduled to start at Portrush at 5.30pm, I’ll be amazed if they start that early! I think Ewarts could go there and win. Ulster Transport are facing a team that haven’t won in their league this season so should be looking to progress.

Division 1

Review

Pickie drew with Belmont though took the majority of the points with 4.5 so it is close to a win. Dunbarton did win and got the same 4.5 points. Most rinks were tight but Marty Trainor’s rink was the difference with a 16 shot win over Michael Murphy. Transport finally got a win and things are looking bleak for Willowfield. Ballymena recorded a 46 shot win over Ards but Brian Thompson ensured that the visitors left with something. Old Bleach have started the season really well and all 7 points at home to Ewarts sees them top the table.

Preview

Old Bleach v Dunbarton 20 May

Larne v Transport

Belmont v Dunbarton

Willowfield v Ballymena

Ards v Old Bleach

Ewarts v Pickie.

It’s a big week for Dunbarton with their re-arranged match at Old Bleach seeing 2 unbeaten teams collide followed up with a tough match at Belmont. If they win both they become favourites for the title and we aren’t even at the end of May! Larne will expect a win when Transport make the short trip. Willowfield need to start accumulating points so even if they lose when Ballymena visit they have to take something. Old Bleach will expect a win at Ards but I’m sure the home team will make it tough. Ewarts host Pickie for the second time this year and will be hoping for revenge for their IBA Cup defeat.

Division 2

Review

NICS will be delighted with 6 at Cliftonville, especially with Freddie Murdock lifting a 7 in the last end to win his point by 1 shot. Castleton travelled to Comber and left with 6 in a tight 5 shot match. Game of the week was at Ballywalter but the visitors Mossley took 5 points home and top the table now. Falls beat Forth River to stay in touch at the top while Sailsbury picked up 6 at Hilden to keep their challenge alive.

Preview

Castleton v Ballywalter

NICS v Comber

Mossley v Forth River

Falls v Hilden

Salisbury v Cliftonville

Ballywalter will expect to get back to winning ways when they travel to Castleton. After that it looks like home wins for NICS, Mossley, Falls and Salisbury.

Division 3

Review

Saintfield got the win over Belmont B thanks to 1 rink having a big win. Shaftesbury and Ballymena B fought out a draw. Short-handed PSNI beat Cavehill thanks to a big up for J Allen. Shorts jumped to the top of the table with a 33 shot 7 point win over Gallaher. Knock finally got a win by beating North Belfast. On Tuesday 19 May in a re-arranged match from earlier in the season Ballymena B beat Belmont B claiming 6 points and reclaimed top spot.

Preview

Ballymena B v PSNI

Belmont B v Shaftesbury

Cavehill v Shorts

Gallaher v Knock

North Belfast v Saintfield

Ballymena B will expect a win when PSNI visit. PSNI have only lifted 0.5 points on their travels so far. Belmont B v Shaftesbury is too close for me to call. Cavehill have won both home matches this season but they face a real challenge when Shorts visit this week. Gallaher beat PSNI 7-0 and PSNI beat Knock 7-0 so surely that means Gallaher will beat Knock 7-0? Knock will be lifted by their win last week and will want to make it back to back wins. North Belfast will need be in good form to deny Saintfield the win this week.

Division 4

Review

Downpatrick took the lead at the top with 7 points against Pickie. Larne beat Dunbarton by 22 shots and claimed 6 points. Willowfield won comfortably with 6 points when Malone came to Cregagh. Falls beat Ballymena C by 23 shots to lift 6 points. Old Bleach hammered Belfast by 73 shots taking all 7 points.

Preview

Malone v Larne

Dunbarton v Belmont C

Ballymena C v Willowfield

Old Bleach v Downpatrick

Pickie B v Belfast

Falls B have a bye

Larne will expect a win at Malone as will Dunbarton when Belmont C visit. Ballymena C v Willowfield is a hard one to call. Match of the week is Old Bleach entertaining leaders Downpatrick. Tough to call but I’ll go with the home team. Pickie will expect a win when Belfast come to Broadway.

Division 5

Review

Mossley remain unbeaten after Cliftonville conceded their match. Transport took all 7 from Cavehill while Ards sneaked past Forth River by a shot to get 6 points despite Tom Uptrichard’s 31 shot rink win for the visitors. Ewarts won comfortably by 34 shots against Hilden and took 6 points. Belmont D won by 0.75 shots against Shaftesbury B! Been a while since I’ve seen a match decided by less than a shot. Shaftesbury didn’t leave empty handed as they had 2 rinks up.

Preview

U Transport v A Foundry

Comber v Belmont D

Forth River v Cavehill

Hilden v Mossley

Cliftonville v Ewarts

Shaftesbury v Ards

The 3 unbeaten teams, Ards, Mossley and Ewarts are all on the road this week. Ards and Ewarts will expect to get wins but Mossley face a tough task going to Hilden. Transport will want to build on their fine win last week but Albert Foundry will be a challenge for them. Will Comber field a team vs Belmont D? Forth River will expect to win the North Belfast derby against Cavehill.