IBA Intermediate Cup

No surprise in Ballymena B beating Malone nor Ballywalter beating Knock. Downpatrick won easily at home to Holywood while Shaftesbury lost narrowly to Bessbrook. Shorts beat BETS away. From the draw I see that Belmont B must have beaten Brooke Park though the draw hasn’t been updated for the matches involving and Belfast.

Junior Cup

Again a lack of results submitted, not just to me, but the League Secretary. Eventually the draw was updated 2 days after the ties took place. 3 of the 8 matches were conceded. Should those clubs be banned from entering in 2016? Pickie and Old Bleach were expected to win at home. Cliftonville surprised me by beating Mossley while Ards didn’t manage to upset Ballymena C. Falls went to Willowfield and got a win that I didn’t expect.

Division 1

Old Bleach overcame Larne in a tight match (4 shots) to make it 7 from 7 in the league. Belmont beat Ballymena by 18 shots with Robin Horner’s rink winning by 16 and the other 3 rinks very tight, Andi Duncan’s rink won by a shot for Ballymena. Pickie won comfortably at home to U Transport with all rinks up. Willowfield finally broke their duck and beat Ards. They remain bottom but 2.5 points covers the bottom 4 now. Ewarts hosted Dunbarton and only lost by 7 shots and more importantly took 2 points from the game.

U Transport v Dunbarton

Ballymena v Pickie

Old Bleach v Belmont

Ards v Larne

Willowfield v Ewarts

Dunbarton need to keep winning to stay in touch with Old Bleach while Transport need to pick up points to stay in the division. Pickie are joint second going into their match against Ballymena in what will be a close one, but I think the home side will bounce back after their loss at Belmont last week. Old Bleach at home to Belmont is a top of the table clash. This is the third meeting of the sides in a month with honours even so far. Old Bleach can make a real statement with a win here while a loss leaves Belmont a long way back even this early in the season. Ards have picked up most of their points at home this season and face Larne who have lost their last 2 matches (albeit against Ballymena and Old Bleach) and have slipped down the table as a result. I think the visitors prove too strong for Ards. Willowfield have a decent chance to get their second win of the season when Ewarts visit this week. Ewarts have yet to win but have been accumulating points to stay in the mix with the other bottom teams.

Division 2

Hilden won a close one at Hilden and the 5 points takes them to within 1.5 points of escaping the relegation places. NICS and Forth River battled the windy conditions as much as each other and Alan Montgomery’s 19 shot win helped NICS to 6 points. Cliftonville v Ballywalter was postponed. Mossley hosted Falls and looked like they were getting the win only for Paul McEwan to move the jack with his last bowl to get the draw. Salisbury hammered Comber by 52 shots and claimed 6.5 points. Cliftonville and Castleton brought their match forward from 18 July and Cliftonville got a 5 shot win to lift 5 points.

Ballywalter v Comber

Forth River v Cliftonville

Hilden v NICS

Falls v Castleton

Salisbury v Mossley

Ballywalter will expect to beat Comber at home while Forth River will hope for the same when Cliftonville make the short trip. NICS travel to Hilden who have lost their last 2 home matches. Falls will look to stay on top with a win over Castleton while Mossley face a tough match at Salisbury with the home team unbeaten on their green.

Division 3

Ballymena B beat Knock by 42 shots with Roy Torrington’s rink winning by 30 shots. Belmont B v Shorts. Saintfield took 6 off PSNI to stay in contention at the top. Gallaher surprised me by taking 5 points from their visit to Cavehill but W Spratt won by 25 shots to help them win the overall match by 3 shots. North Belfast got their second win of the season with a tight win over Shaftesbury.

Shaftesbury v PSNI

Shorts v Saintfield

Knock v Belmont B

Gallaher v Ballymena B

Cavehill v N Belfast

Shaftesbury need to bounce back from their defeat last week and should beat a PSNI side with only 1.5 points from away matches. I favour Shorts at home to Saintfield. Knock and Belmont B are in the mix for relegation and both will want a win to jump up the table. Gallaher host league leaders Ballymena B and could build on their win at Cavehill last week, but I think it unlikely. Cavehill will need to bounce back from last week and the visit of North Belfast is the perfect opportunity.

Division 4

Larne travelled to Old Bleach and kept their unbeaten run going with a 1 shot win. Belmont recorded a 30 shot win over the other C team, Ballymena. I was glad I was sitting down when Pat Butler rang me with the next result. Falls beat previously unbeaten Downpatrick by 49 shots to claim all 7 points.

Dunbarton B v Malone

Pickie B v Ballymena C

Belmont C v Old Bleach B

Larne B v Falls B

Downpatrick v Willowfield B

Dunbarton B will expect a win when Malone visit. Pickie B should be too strong for Ballymena C. Belmont C face a tough match when Old Bleach B visit them this week. Falls toppled league leaders Downpatrick during the week and now have the challenge of new league leaders Larne away. Downpatrick will be happy to be back at home to face Willowfield and should bounce back strongly.

Division 5

Hilden B v A Foundry. Forth River B jumped Belmont D in mid-table with a 6 point win. Transport cruised to a 39 shot win over Cliftonvile. In a table topping clash Ards ended Mossley’s unbeaten run with a 6 point, 23 shot win. The rink of J Crothers won by 15 shots. Comber B v Ewarts B. Shaftesbury B v Cavehill B.

Comber B v U Transport B

Cliftonville B v Forth River B

Belmont D v Hilden B

A Foundry v Ards B

Mossley B v Cavehill B

Ewarts B v Shaftesbury B

U Transport have won their last 4 matches and will look to make it 5 at Comber. Both Cliftonville and Forth River have been inconsistent this season so I haven’t a clue who will win this one. Belmont D host Hilden and I think the visitors will sneak a close one. Albert Foundy have won their last 3 home matches but might struggle this week when Ards visit. Mossley will try and forget 2 losses in a week when entertaining Cavehill. Ewarts should be too strong at home to Shaftesbury.