Portadown’s Errol Whitten is hoping his team can become the latest in a line of ‘shock-troopers’ in this season’s IBA Senior Cup when they face Old Bleach at Randalstown on Saturday.
With a place in the semi final up for grabs, it’s an ideal opportunity for both clubs to grab a little bit of glory as the outdoor term enters the final stretch.
The NIBA boys have already benefited from what has been a season of upsets in this tournament, having dismissed Ballywalter and Ballycastle in previous rounds.
Whoever would have thought that the NIBA Division Two side would win on all four rinks at mighty Ballymena while Ballycastle, the little Provincial outfit, would cause a shock at previously high-flying Larne?
Following their six point league home win over Divis in midweek, which helped haul them away from the basement area of the league table, the Ports are now looking to book a slot in the last four of the sport’s top knockout tournament.
“There have been so many shocks in this competition this season, anything is possible,” laughed Whitten.
“We’ve beaten both Ballycastle and Ballywalter in the last few rounds and we won quite handily in the two games, but they previously took all the headlines with their wins over Larne and Ballymena.
“Now we are hoping to become the giant-killers at Old Bleach. They will go into the tie as big favourites, there is no question about that. They are always difficult to beat on their own green.
“It’s nice to be involved at this stage, the cup run gets us away from the pressure of league games.
“Our ultimate aim is to maintain our NIBA Division One status. We just about surrived last season when Dromore defeated Lurgan on the final day of the season.
“We don’t want to go through all that again. We are certainly heading in the right direction. The introduction of Dayne Jordan and Derek Wright have helped strengthen the side this year.”
Meanwhile, Cookstown and Dunbarton go head to head in the remaining fourth round tie.
The Provincial club’s third round game with Northern Ireland Civil Service fell victim of the weather before a pipe band contest forced the cancellation of the rearranged fixture at Stormont, which means they are playing catch-up.
Dunbarton, who were demolished at home by Belmont in midweek, a result that blew the PGL Division One league wide open, will be looking to bounce back in a competition they won for the first time in 2009 before repeating the feat three years later.
IBA Senior Cup quarter finals: Belmont v Banbridge, Divis v Pickie, Old Bleach v Portadown.
IBA Senior Cup, fourth round: Cookstown v Dunbarton.
IBA Junior Cup quarter finals: Coleraine v Dunbarton, Dungiven v Pickie, Lurgan v Limavady, Railway Union v Ballymena.
Northern Ireland Bowling Association Division One: Lisnagarvey v Balmoral, Dundonald v Castle.
Division Two: Newtownabbey v Londonderry Park, Balmoral B v Dromore, Whitehead B v Dungannon, Sydenham v Rathfriland.
Division Three: Banbridge B v Bessbrook, Curran v Carrick B, Cloughey v Ulster Maple Leaf, Musgrave v Ormeau, Markethill v Clarendon.
Division Four: Newcastle v Annalong, Glengormley v Queen’s Island, Holywood v North Down, Antrim v St Stephen’s, Finaghy v Lisnagarvey B.
Division Five: Lurgan B v Warrenpoint, Lagan Valley v BETS, Portadown B v Newry, Dromore v 1st Ballymacarrett.
Division Six: McQuistion Memorial v Curran B, Gilnahirk v 9th Old Boys, Ballynafeigh v Windsor, Musgrave B v Donaghadee B, Castle B v 58th Old Boys.
Private Greens League Senior Division One: Larne v Ulster Transport, Ballymena v Ewarts.
Division Two: Ballywalter v NICS, Cliftonville v Belmont Park, Ards v Mossley, Salisbury v Hilden, Comber v Castleton.
Division Three: Cavehill v Knock, Albert Foundry, v Gallaher, Ballymena Park v Malone, PSNI v North Belfast, Belfast v Saintfield.
PGL Junior Division One: Belmont v Ulster Transport, Larne v Falls.
Division Two: Forth River v Ards, Belmont Park v Cliftonville, Willowfield v Cavehill, Hilden v Ewarts, Castleton v Comber.
Provincial Senior League: Ballymoney v Kilrea, City of Derry v Ballycastle, Portrush v Dunluce, Coleraine v Portglenone.