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Old Bleach storm into history books with cup triumph over Dunbarton

Michael Nutt puts Old Bleach in the lead in rink four

Michael Nutt puts Old Bleach in the lead in rink four

The champagne flowed into the early hours when Old Bleach returned to their Randalstown headquarters following their epic IBA Senior Cup win over Dunbarton at Jordanstown on Saturday.

After years of trying, the most famous piece of silverware at last found its way into the trophy cabinet of the Private Greens League club.

They defied the odds, producing a wonderful performance to blow favourites, Dunbarton, out of the water. It was a special moment for everyone connected with the club - particularly for two stalwarts, Arnie Campbell and Felix Robb, who were part of the team that lost in the 1976 final to Falls!

Yes, it’s been a long wait, but how they enjoyed it.

At the other end of the scale, the cup win has been an instant success for four lads in their first year at Old Bleach - the Kirkwood brothers, Stephen and Robert, Sam Barkley and Andrew Booth, son of Neill, the Commonwealth Games silver medallist.

And, for a posse of others, it was undoubtedly a weekend they will never forget - guys who have played a vital part in the club’s growing success in recent years . . . Ronnie Talbot, Joe Barkley, Alan Scott, Nigel McNally, Brian Trimble, Bryan Magrath, Billy Scott and the aforementioned, Robb and Campbell.

“Neil (Booth) and James Talbot are two of are more high profile players due to their success at international level and tend to get most of the headlines, but the other lads also played a major role,” said Michael Nutt, the Ireland Under-25 team boss.

“It’s a team . . . or squad game. They deserved a pat in the back because they have been immense and made a massive contribution.

“We have been working with a squad of players all season. Unfortunately, they all couldn’t play in the final, but we were all it in together. It was a sweet moment for Felix and Arnie, who lost in the final back in 1976.

“In contrast, the Kirkwood boys only joined us this season and they have already a winners’ medal. They are two great lads and got a good grounding in the sport at the former club Hilden.”

James Talbot turned in a top performance in the final, skipping his rink to an impressive 22-14 victory over Andrew Hughes. Booth and Johnny Millar also made a crucial contribution by defeating Conor McCartan (21-19) and Myles Greenfield (21-19).

Nutt failed to make it a full house . . . he fell to a 22-19 defeat by DJ Wilson, but by that stage, the Old Bleach ribbons were already being prepared to be draped on the trophy.

In an ironic twist, the teams lined out against each other 24 hours later in at crucial PGL Division One League game.

It as a much-changed side as the new cup winners were without a posse players, including Booth, Talbot, Mullarr, Robert Kirkwood and McNally.

It was no surprise that Dunbarton reaped a little bit revenge, storming to an 87-64 win to edge them closer to the PGL Division One title.

They are now two points ahead of Belmont with one game remaining. Dunbarton face Ulster Transport, while Belmont travel to Ballymena.

Martin Trainor was the pick of the home skips -- he enjoyed a runaway 30-9 win over Nutt. Greenfield and Wilson chipped in with wins over Bryan Magrath (21-16) and Brian Trimble (21-16.

Tom Rainey prevented Dunbarton from claiming a clean sweep by beating McCartan 23-15.

Results: IBA Senior Cup final: Old Bleach 83 Dunbarton 74.

Results: IBA Senior Cup final: Old Bleach 83 Dunbarton 74.

NIBA Division One: Portadown 49 (1) Balmoral 71 (6), Castle 65 (1) Whitehead 106 (6), Donaghadee 89 (6) Divis 77 (1), Dundonald 75 (5.5) Bangor 72 (1.5).

Division Two: Dungannon 90 (6) Londonderry Park 73 (1), Dromore 80 (5.5) Rathfriland 66 (1.5), Newtownabbey 59 (1) Lurgan 85 (6),

Division Three: Banbridge B 63 (2) Clarendon 77 (5), Curran 79 (5) Markethill 65 (2), Cloughey 103 (6) Miusgrave 58 (1).

Division Four: Queen’s Island 60 (0) St Stephen’s 96 (7), Newcastle 81 (1) Lisnagarvey B 84 (6), Glengormley 75 (3) Finaghy 78 (4), Holywood 89 (5) Antrim 55 (2).

Division Five: BETS 101 (7) Newry 50 (0), Lurgan B 93 (6) 1st Ballymacarrett 61 (1), Lagan Valley 71 (2) Dromore B 81 (5), Rathfriland B 54 (2) Portadown B 72 (5).

Division Six: Windsor 97 (6) Curran B 61 (1), 9th Old Boys (1) Donaghadee B (6), McQuiston Memorial 101 (7) 58th Old Boys 55 (0).

Private Greens League Senior Division One: Dunbarton 87 (6) Old Bleach 64 (1), Larne 76 (2) Ballymena 83 (5), Falls 85 (5) Willowfield 73 (2), Belmont 89 (6) Forth River 66 (1).

Division Two: Salisbury 69 (0) Ards 97 (7), Cliftonville 74 (5) Comber 59 (2), Hilden (2) Castleton (5), Belmont Park 53 (0) Mossley 99 (7), Shorts 61 (1.5) NICS 81 (5.5).

Division Three: Shaftesbury 86 (7) Knock 49 (0), Malone 59 (2) North Belfast 62 (5), PSNI 65 (6) Belfast 50 (1), Saintfield 88 (6) Gallaher 66 (1), Ballymena Park 77 (1) Albert Foundry 83 (6).

PGL Junior Division One: Downpatrick 91 (7) Falls 58 (0), Ballymena 89 (6) Larne 67 (1), Mossley (1) Belmont (6).

Division Two: comber 54 (3.5) Cliftonville 54 (3.5), Castleton (6) Hilden (1), Forth River (4) Belmont park (3), Ards 106 (6.5) Ewarts 66 (0.5).

Provincial Senior League: Letterkenny 76 (5) Dunluce 72 (2), Cookstown 101 (6) Portglenone 74 (1), Kilrea 71 (6.5) Ballycastle 57 (0.5), Ballymoney 92 (5) Portrush 71 (2), Coleraine 89 (7) City of Derry 59 (0).

 

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