Drama as Ballymoney bowlers force league title play-off with Portrush

BALLYMONEY Bowling Club grabbed a dramatic six of the seven points on offer against Brooke Park to force a play-off with neighbours Portrush to decide the destination of the Northern Ireland Provincial Bowling Association senior league title, writes Nevin Farrell.

Fresh from their Irish Senior Cup defeat to Coleraine, Ballymoney knew that if they picked up seven points they would take the title but they have still done enough to finish level with Portrush on 78.5 points and a deciding match will now be played at Coleraine, scheduled for Tuesday September 10.

Ballymoney have played Portrush three times this season, winning two and losing one, so a close match is on the cards.

Portrush already have domestic silverware in the bag but at Ballymoney, this season, the trophy cabinet is bare but the Toon team are fighting to change that.

Ballymoney’s Gary Kelly told the Times that they were disappointed at not being able to take the league title when the situation was in their own hands but he accepted it can be a mighty ask to pick up all seven points.

On the night against Brooke Park he said they had three rinks well up but one rink lost in the end even though at five down playing the last end there was a chance of gaining a half point to take the title but it was not to be.

Ballymoney’s Gary Kelly told Times Sport: “We were disappointed not to do enough against Brooke Park but happy that at least we got enough to get into the play-off.

“It is always difficult to get seven points in a game but a small part of us feels we missed an opportunity.”

Ballymoney will now have to dust themselves down and get ready for another big match as the high-pressure games just keep coming.

Added Kelly: “Portrush are a good team and we know what to expect. We have had a good season but it will be disappointing if we don’t get a trophy so we will be crossing our fingers that we don’t end the season without silverware.”

* Bowling has always been big in Ballymoney and the bowlers will go into the league play-off with the good wishes of all sports fans from the borough.

There was much disappointment as the Irish Senior Cup was whisked up the road to Coleraine a couple of weeks ago but the Ballymoney bowlers will be keen to ensure that at the end of the play-off the league trophy travels south-east out of Coleraine rather than north-east to Portrush.