League Cup Draws now available for 2018
PG Senior Cup
Most matches went as predicted with the teams in higher divisions progressing. In the 2 big matches the away teams shocked the home teams. Larne beat Ballymena for the first time since 2004 and by 9 shots. Michael Murphy’s rink were the biggest winners with a 12 shot up over Jim Baker. Meanwhile in East Belfast Old Bleach were destroying Belmont. The damage being done by the rinks of James Talbot and Neil Booth.
IBA Senior Cup
Starting where we left off in the PG Cup, Belmont didn’t have to wait long for their revenge over Old Bleach and won by 8 shots. Larne recorded a fine win at home to Lisnagarvey while Dunbarton and Ballymena had big wins over Dunluce and Aer Lingus respectively. Unfortunately it wasn’t all good news as Pickie, Albert Foundry and Mossley all lost.
IBA Junior Cup
I have no details other than to say Old Bleach and Dunbarton won on their travels. Falls, Ulster Transport, Forth River and Pickie won at home while Hilden lost away.
In a re-arranged match from the opening weekend Old Bleach beat Dunbarton 4-3 thanks mainly to Neil Booth’s rink. The other 3 rinks were very close with Dunbarton just edging each of them. Dunbarton’s week didn’t get much better with a 4 shot loss at Belmont though they did leave with 2 points. Larne recorded a fine win over Transport at home with only Mark Devlin getting a point with a 19-18 win for the visitors. Ballymena got back on track with an excellent 30 shot win and 6 points from their trip to Willowfield. Ards faced Old Bleach this week and will want to forget it. Old Bleach took all 7 with a massive 67 shot win. Pickie kept their good start to the season going with a 6 point win at Ewarts.
Dunbarton v Pickie
U Transport v Belmont
Ballymena v Larne
Old Bleach v Willowfield
Ards v Ewarts.
Pickie face a massive challenge when they visit Dunbarton who I’m sure will be looking to bounce back from 2 consecutive losses. Belmont with a match in hand could go second and should be looking for a win away at Transport. Ballymena will be looking for revenge for their recent cup loss when Larne visit. Old Bleach should make it 6 from 6 when Willowfield visit. Ards against Ewarts is a big game for both teams as both look to record their first win.
A couple of shock results this week with Castleton beating Ballywalter by 11 shots and claiming 6 points while Mossley lost at home to Forth River by 13 shots and only got a point from Eddie Crawford’s rink who picked up an 8 during the game. NICS beat Comber thanks mainly to Alan Montgomery’s 23 shot win but only lifted 5 points with the other 3 rinks being very close. Falls had an impressive 62 shot 7 point win over Hilden with all rinks over 10 shots up. Salisbury kept their recent good run going with a win over local rivals Cliftonville.
Comber v Cliftonville
Ballywalter v NICS
Forth River v Castleton
Hilden v Mossley
Falls v Salisbury
The bottom 2 teams in the division meet at Comber with both looking to make up ground on the teams above them. Ballywalter will be looking to bounce back from their loss at Castleton when NICS come to visit. Forth River will be looking to build on their win at Mossley when Castleton make the short trip. Hilden will be wary of the wounded Mossley when they visit. I think Falls will prove too strong for Salisbury in a top of the table clash.
Ballymena opened up a gap at the top with a 7 point win over a shorthanded PSNI. Shaftesbury won with 6 points at Belmont to stay in touch at the top. Cavehill surprised Shorts with a 20 shot win with Mark Mitchell’s rink 15 shots up. Knock made it 2 wins in a row at Gallahers. Saintfield travelled to North Belfast and took 5 points to take third place in the league.
Shaftesbury v Saintfield
PSNI v Belmont
Shorts v Ballymena
Knock v Cavehill
Gallaher v N Belfast
A couple of big matches at the top with Shaftesbury hosting Saintfield and Ballymena visiting Shorts. Both matches are too close to call. PSNI have won both matches at home this season and I think they will overcome Belmont this week. Cavehill haven’t won away and Knock will be looking to keep it that way. Gallaher and N Belfast are both struggling at the bottom and both will be looking for a win.
Larne are for second now after a 7 point win over Malone. Dunbarton are also second after a 5 point win over Belmont. Rumours are Downpatrick beat Old Bleach to retain top spot, but I haven’t had any contact from either club so the fixtures and tables aren’t updated yet. Ballymena and Willowfield fought out a draw though with 3 rinks up Ballymena took the majority of the points. Pickie took almost all of the points from struggling Belfast who only left with 0.5 points.
Downpatrick v Dunbarton
Belmont v Malone
Larne v Ballymena
Willowfield v Old Bleach
Belfast v Falls
Dunbarton have the unenviable task of trying to beat Downpatrick this week. Belmont and Malone is tough to call. Larne entertain Ballymena and it’s hard to see anything but a Larne win. Willowfield hosting Old Bleach is another tricky one but I’ll come off the fence and go with Willowfield at home. Belfast will be hoping to record their first win but might have to wait another week as Falls visit this week.
Transport claimed 6 off Albert Foundry with an 8 shot win. Forth River took 5 in a game with 3 high scoring rinks, unfortunately for Cavehill they only had 1 of them with Paul Scott’s 21 shot win. Mossley had a 36 shot win at Hilden and took 6 points. Cliftonville beat Ewarts thanks to 1 big rink win as they took 4 points. Ards predictably beat Shaftesbury, though Shaftesbury did get a point thanks to G Boreland’s rink.
Mossley v Comber
Belmont v U Transport
A Foundry v Forth River
Cavehill v Hilden
Ewarts v Ards
Cliftonville v Shaftesbury
Mossley should win easily against struggling Comber. Belmont and Transport is tough to call though Transport have won 2 in a row so will hope to keep that run going. Albert Foundry will want to make home advantage count against Forth River. Cavehill have yet to record a win and Hilden visiting is a tough ask, though home advantage might be the difference. Ewarts against Ards is a top of the table clash and if Ards win they have daylight to third. Cliftonville will be favourites to win if they field a team against Shaftesbury.
Thought for the week
All the best to the PG Senior team this weekend, lots of changes with the retirements of Neil Booth, Mark McPeak, James Talbot and Brendan Thompson. Some very big shoes to fill and hopefully several grasp the opportunity they have been given.