PGL ‘big guns’ Belmont and Old Bleach gear up for Cup showdowns

Ewarts bowler David Cunningham
Ewarts bowler David Cunningham

Belmont and Old Bleach are going to be sick of the sight of each other - even at this early stage of the season!

Both teams negotiated their respective IBA Senior Cup games at the weekend without breaking a great deal of sweat, but it will be a different story next time out!

In fact, they will face a critical 48 hours that may well shape the remainder of their season.

Not only were they drawn together in the game’s top knockout tournament on Saturday, May 23, but they are also due to go head-to-head two days earlier in the first round of the PGL Senior Cup.

Belmont will perhaps have a slight advantage as they will host both games.

And, just to add another dollop of spice, the clubs are scheduled to meet again in a vital league game, this time at Randalstown, on June 13!

“You just couldn’t have written the script,” said Old Bleach’s Michael Nutt.

“But you have to deal with the cards you are dealt.

“We faced an even worse scenario last season when we played Dunbarton three times over the space of four days and one of those was the Irish Cup final!

“First up is a home league game against Ewarts to deal with. We’ll then focus on the cup games after that. I’m sure Belmont are hardly thrilled with the outcome either, but we’ve just got to get on with it.”

It’s not the only fixture that will guarantee one of the ‘so-called’ big guns making an early exit.

Provincial side, Coleraine, who wrote themselves into the record books by winning the IBA Cup two years ago, have been handed a tough draw against unbeaten NIBA Division One side Portadown.

Cookstown, who are regular attenders in the latter stages in the tournament, will hardly relish the challenge of top Dublin side St James’s Gate, while after their impressive victory at Ulster Transport at the weekend, Lisnagarvey must now gear up for another difficult outing at Larne.

And, Divis could be forgiven for cursing their luck when they were pulled out of the hat away to Whitehead.

The west Belfast side roared to a fantastic win over local rivals Falls at the weekend, but they will certainly not have it so cosy in a fortnight’s time.

Probably, the happiest campers of the lot are Ballymena. They’ll be hot favourites to claim a place in the next phase when BLI side Aer Lingus make the trip to Old Ballymoney Road!


IBA Senior Cup, second round: Albert Foundry v Ballymoney, Bangor v Mossley, Belmont v Old Bleach, Coleraine v Portadown, Cookstown v St James’s Gate, Crumlin v City of Derry, Dromore v Leinster, Dunbarton v Dunluce, Dundonald v Bray, CYM v Letterkenny, Larne v Lisnagarvey, Lurgan v Balmoral, Portrush v Pickie, Rathfriland v Carrick, Whitehead v Divis, Ballymena v Aer Lingus.

IBA Junior Cup: Balmoral v Castlerock, Bray v Old Bleach, Brookgreen v Rathfriland, Pickie v Willowfield, Falls v ICICYMA, Portadown v Lisnagarvey, Cookstown v Carrickfergus, Dunluce v Antrim, Forth River v Lurgan, Kilrea v Hilden, Letterkenny v Dunbarton, Portrush v Ewarts, Ulster Transport v Ballycastle, Westmanstown/Ballymoney v Coleraine, Whitehead v Dromore


IBA Senior Cup, first round: Leinster 78 Banbridge 74, Dromore 150 Kenilworth 50, Whitehead 130 Meath 58, Ballycastle 55 Bangor 94, Divis 101 Falls 56, Portrush 93 Ards 65, Dungannon 65 CYM 98, Larne 81 Donaghadee 62, Belmont 82 NICS 64, Crumlin 93 Limavady 86, Ulster Transport 67 Lisnagarvey 86, Willowfield 63 Ballymena 84, Coleraine 81 Forth River 66, Cookstown 89 Castle 57, Old Bleach 104 Clarendon 40, Mossley 83 Portglenone 58, Ewarts 72 Pickie 7h6, City of Derry 79 Cavehill 58.

IBA Junior Cup: Ballymena 78 Willowfield 88, Dunbarton 82 Crumlin 62, Portrush 72 CYM 70, Comber B 75 Portadown B 81, Castle 41 Pickie 107, Lisnagarvey 76 Mossley 57, Cavehill B 57 Falls B 98, Cookstown 86 Ards 60, Hilden 90 Musgrave 67, Whitehead 87 Larne 67.

NIBA Division One: Dundonald 88 (6) Lurgan 62 (1).

Division Two: Balmoral B 69 (2) Curran 81 (6).

Division Three: Cloughey 71 (2) Oreau 72 (5), Musgrave 68 (1) Markethill 88 (6).

Division Four: Queen’s Island 56 (0) BETS 102 (7), Ulster Maple Leaf 88 (6) Newcastle 63 (1), North Down 63 (2) Holywood 83 (6).

Division Five: Newry 93 (6.5) Windsor 61 (0.5), 1st Ballymacarrett 70 (1) Warrenpoint 87 (6), Lurgan B 81 (6) Antrim 75 (1).

Division Six: Curran B 82 (5) Gilnahirk 69 (2).

NI Private Greens League Division Two: Castleton 67 (2) Cliftonville 85 (5).

Division Three: Knock 66 (2) Shorts 90 (5), Ballymena B 81 (6) Saintfield 69 (1), North Belfast 100 (6) Belmont B 62 (1).