Lurgan 83 Balmoral 77
Lurgan Seniors completed a league and cup double over Balmoral in the space of seven days, this time the Belfast men travelled to Lurgan Park, and it was a case of déjà vu as the four Lurgan rinks would line up against the same opposition skips.
Lurgan again made a good start against Balmoral and raced into an early 8 shot lead in the opening ends.
Balmoral eager to avenge last week’s league fixture behind them roared back at Lurgan and completely dominated the middle of the game they were 6 up at the halfway point and had amassed what looked like an insurmountable 17 shot lead at three quarter distance.
Lurgan trailing 64-47 with only 6 ends to go secured multiple shot ends to overturn this defcit and win 83-77, securing a next round Irish Cup berth against fellow NIBA division 1 side Dundonald.
On rink 1, R McCullough, J McCullough, D McCabrey, and skip R.M. Montgomery started excellently against Clifford Craig racing out to a 10-3 lead early on and kept applying the pressure to increase their lead to 17-7 at the halfway point.
Craig marshalled his men and over the next quarter of the game managed to pull back to only trail by a shot, 18-17 however the Balmoral skip couldn’t complete the comeback as the Lurgan four continued to press in the final quarter winning 28-19.
On rink 2, R McClune, G Bunting, S Poots, and skip A Roberts, started well against skip A Harrison leading 5-3.
However the rink would mirror the game as a whole as the Balmoral rink controlled the middle 10 ends leading 12-6 and improving this to 17-9 at the three quarter distance.
The Lurgan four never let their heads go down as they bowled strongly in the closing ends to win 21-18
On rink 3, I Mitchell, M Bunting, J Gilliland and H Cosgrove, got off to a good start leading 6-1 after five ends, Balmoral under skip D Donaghy fought back and levelled the match 8-8 at the half. Lurgan trailed 14-11 going into the closing ends but a superb closing to the game saw Lurgan claw back to end up level at 20 all.
On rink 4 B Boness, D Dempsey, P McGrail and skip A Briggs, struggled against Balmoral skip Matt Reid and trailed from start to finish .
The Lurgan four fought hard the whole way through the game keeping the score to a level were the other rinks could keep the game insight.
They trailed 6-1 early and 11-4 at the half, keeping the game close was important and the Balmoral rink could never pull any further clear as the Lurgan rink eventually went down 20-14.