BOWLS: Battling Ballymoney bid to change losing trend in top knockout event

Ballymoneys Gary Kelly.
Ballymoneys Gary Kelly.

Ballymoney’s Gary Kelly believes you’ve got to beat the best if you want to get your hands in major silverware.

His theory will be put to the test on Saturday when the Provincial team travel down the M2 to face high flying Belmont in east Belfast.

Having previously defeated Meath and Dunluce, Ballymoney now face their biggest challenge. They have been so close to lifting the trophy on so many occasions, disappointment is becoming a regular visitor.

“We’ve been frustrated so many times, it's untrue,” said Kelly. “We reached the final in 2010, 2012 and again the follow year, but we have still to cross the finish line. Throw in a semi final appearance in 2011 which just adds to the heartache.

“Thankfully, we are at full strength for this game against Belmont, which will be a very difficult match. They don’t come much more difficult, but if you have aspirations in winning the trophy, you have to beat the best.”

Belmont will be missing Chris Allen for the game.

Meanwhile, Ballymena will entertain Mossley at Old Ballymoney Road with high hopes of progressing to the last four.

They will be without Graham Wilson, who will be in Wales supporting his daughter Megan representing Ireland in the Under-25 Women’s Home Internationals at Bridgend.

It will be Mossley’s first final since 1998 when they lost by 17 shots to Balmoral.

“We are looking forward to the game,” said Mossley’s Eddie Crawford. “We’ll pretty much be at full strength, apart from Larry Kelly. But we work from a 17 man squad."

o Jackie Smyth will today attempt to get his hands on the singles trophy at the Portrush Bowls tournament at Ramore Head.

Playing on his home green, the Ireland international selector will line out against Old Bleach’s Tom Rainey in the showcase final.

Smyth was in excellent form yesterday, defeating Mark Tait in the quarter finals before ending the hopes of Tom Lithco at the semi final stage.

Results:

Portrush Tournament: Men’s singles quarer finals: J Smyth 21 M Taid 13; T Lighco 21 B Scott 7; T Rainey 21 G Fletcher 11; E Armstrong 21 B Wilson 7. Semi finals: Smyth 21 Lithco 6; Rainey 21 E Armstrong 13.

Men’s pairs quarter finals: D Coulter, I McClure 15 W Scott, R Talbot 12; S Martin, J Martin 14 E Lecky, A McCombe 12; M Tait, B Trimble 16 A Clyude, T Mullan 1; T Colvin, J Smyth 8 T Smith, S Colvin 13. Semi final: Tait, Trimble 8 Smith Colvin 10; Coulter, McClure 16 Martin, Martin 13.

Ladies singles semi finals: B Shackles 21 V Witherow 13; L Evans 21 B McClurg 6.