THE double dream may have been too tough a challenge on Friday night at Musgrave Park but Portadown returned home to the Pleasure Gardens having established a fresh chapter in the history of town bowls.
Victory over Bangor - winners of the NIBA Senior Cup on 18 previous occasions - provided Portadown A with a first-ever grip on the coveted WD Neill prize.
On the same night, Portadown B lost out in the NIBA Junior Cup to a Whitehead side placed two divisions above the town players in the league structure.
“We view it as a successful night overall and it was a win enjoyed by everyone connected to Portadown Bowling Club,” said Portadown president, David Lyttle. “The junior players can feel proud for even reaching the final and they certainly produced a strong performance, with a relatively tight margin at the end.
“We win and lose together at this club as everyone makes a contribution to Portadown’s progress.
“Bowls is a team sport but different to many others in that each individual must keep an eye on the bigger picture and think about what is best for the overall situation not just personal glory.
“Back in 2003, we lost to Bangor at senior level by a single shot so to edge home by 84-81 following a dramatic performance certainly helped add to the victory.
“At times we had to dig deep to stay in contention and complete the job and, on previous occasions, that has maybe been a problem area.
“It was a different story on Friday as everyone was determined to put everything into the final.
“It goes down as something special for the club and we would love to see it result in additional players taking an interest in such a wonderful sport.
“To have our name engraved at last on the NIBA Senior Cup is a wonderful achievement and can only provide everyone with a boost.”
Portadown stepped up to face Bangor on Friday with the aim of breaking a Senior Cup blank dating back to the town side’s first appearance in 1939.
In the end, victory was achieved by virtue of a resilient performance as Portadown managed to overcome deficits of 17 and 12 shots, by ends 13 and 16 respectively.
A tally of 4-1 on the 17th proved a Portadown highlight, along with 5-0 and the 10-2 scoreline which placed the town men in control for the first time by 80-77.
Martin Trainor’s rink produced four stunning shots which, although matched by Bangor, proved part of Portadown’s path towards overall success.
Chris Trainor, Errol Whitten, Derek McCallion and Richard McMullan - playing Gary Scott’s highly-rated rink - managed to stay within two shots across the opening 14 ends.
It was level at nine apiece before five winning ends by Portadown for a 14-10 advantage at 18.
Richard McMullan and Derek McCallion both displayed top-class form, with bold shot-selection.
On end 19, Portadown had one shot but with a four-bowl cluster to the left-hand side of the rink. McMullan played with weight, picked up the jack and scored four after the under-pressure Bangor skip’s effort proved short.
Both rinks had a bowl touching the jack on end 20 - Bangor had the third shot bowl and Portadown the next closest four. The Bangor bowl was taken out, then McMullan struck again and his delivery got the rival toucher away as six massive shots took Portadown from 9–9 at 14 ends to a 24–11 win.
Stephen McCall, Kieran Trainor, Aidan Corrigan and Martin Trainor experienced two vital phases over the 21 ends. With a 9–3 lead, they helped to contain Bangor’s early advantage across the board.
A perfect Martin Trainor strike failed to yield any reward as Bangor grabbed control across four ends. However, the Portadown quartet refused to hold back and a 14-5 run over the final third produced a vital 25-25 outcome.
George Richardson, Robert Hobson, Maurice Whitla and Mark Sproule recovered from the shock of a 12-4 deficit to post counts of four, three and three for a 13-end 15-14 scoreline.
At 19 ends, Portadown were up by 21-19 in the 21-apiece draw.
David Lyttle, Gregory McCartan, Derek Wright and Dane Jordan worked hard to remain competitive across 12 ends before Bangor dominated the closing stages to increase a 12-10 deficit to 24-14.
The nine-shot reverse suffered by Portadown in the NIBA Junior Cup final proved an encouraging display without any reward.
However, recent league play has featured back-to-back wins for Portadown B, with the A side clocking up a 6-1 success over Lisnagarvey. Tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) programme will remain blank.