Little Ballycastle produced yet another shock in the IBA Senior Cup by storming to a 10 shot win over highly fancied Larne at Old Glenarm Road at the weekend.
It was the most recent in a number of results that has gripped the current campaign in which Ballymena, Whitehead and cup holders, Coleraine, all crashed out in the previous round.
In an ironic twist, Larne produced one of the top performances of round two when they made the short journey to Islandmagee Road to dump out the tournament favourites Whitehead.
They were expected to enhance their early season form, they also currently sit proudly at the top of PGL Division One, by breezing past the challenge of Ballycastle, but it just didn’t happened!
“We’re over the moon with the victory,” said Ballycastle’s David Hayes.
“I don’t think anyone would have given us any hope and probably rightly so because we still haven’t managed to win a league game yet.
“It’s no wins from seven starts, which doesn’t make great reading. We are sitting one place off the bottom of the table, but at least we are five points ahead of Kilrea.
“But we defeated Knock in the last round of the IBA Cup and have now produced our best performance of the season to beat Larne.
“We must now attempt to maintain that form and pick up vital league points over the next few weeks.”
Ballycastle must travel to Portadown in round four next Saturday.
“It will be another difficult game, but the pressure is off us,” added Hayes.
“We’ll go into the game as underdogs which suits us. We realise anything can happen in a one off game”
Jimmy McMullan was Ballycastle’s top performer, skipping his rink to an impressive 24-18 over Michael Murphy. Hayes also made a vital contribution by beating Alan McLean 18-14.
Larne hit back through Paul Robinson and David McRandall, who both clocked up wins over Tommy Grainger (19-11) and Fred Morrow (19-17).
Ballywalter’s cup romance also hit the buffers, beaten 93-67 at home by Portadown.
The PGL Division Two side turned in one of the biggest shocks for some years in the last round when they roared to victory over Ballymena on their own green, winning on all four rinks.
But the fairytale ended at Dunleath Park, where the Ports turned on the power.
Dayne Jordan and Aidan Corrigan took top honours by beating Alan Davidson (31-21) and Davy Palmer (19-11), while Mark Sproule and Maurice Whitla finished the job with wins over Eric Lowry (23-18) and Keith Massey (20-17).
Meanwhile, Bangor won the battle of the ‘big guns’ by beating NIBA Divison One rivals Balmoral. The Seasiders now travel to Old Bleach next week.
Mark Shannon stole the show, skipping his rink to a 25-17 win over Irish international Clifford Craig..
IBA Senior Cup, third round: Shaftesbury 62 Lisnagarvey 100, Larne 68 Ballycastle 78, Ballywalter 67 Portadown 93, Balmoral 68 Bangor 85, Dunbarton 79 Ballymoney 69, Lurgan 76 Mossley 82, Portrush 116 Dungannon 55, Old Bleach 113 Rathfriland 52, Ewarts 46 Belmont 81.
IBA Junior Cup, third round: Old Bleach B 113 Portadown B 55, Coleraine 97 Ballymoney 65, Castlerock 97 Carrick 67, BETS 63 Whitehead 98, Lurgan 82 Donaghadee 71.
Private Greens League Senior Division One: Forth River 64 (0) Belmont 87 (7), Willowfield 67 (2.5) Falls 69 (4.5).
PGL Senior Two: Shorts 61 (1.5) NICS 81 (5.5), Ards 81 (6) Salisbury 78 (1), Comber 66 (1.5) Cliftonville 74 (5.5).
PGL Division Three: North Belfast 101 (7) Malone 55 (0).
PGL Junior Division One: Belmont (5) Mossley (2).
Division Two: Ewarts 114 (7) Ards 60 (0).
Northern Ireland Bowling Association Divisoin One: Whitehead 82 (6) Castle 67 (1), Divis 94 (7) Donaghadee 60 (0).
IBA Senior Cup, quarter finals: Portadown v Ballycastle, Banbridge v Mossley, Divis v Lisnagarvey, Belmont v Portglenone, NICS/Cookstown v Dunbarton, Old Bleach v Bangor, Pickie v St James’s Gate, Portrush v Dundonald.
IBA Junior Cup, quarter finals: Ballymena v Larne, Whitehead v Railway Union, Castlerock v Coleraine, Dunbarton v Old Bleach, Dungiven v Banbridge, Limavady v CYM/Antrim, Lurgan v Cloughey, Pickie v Lisnagarvey.