go down like ninepins

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go down/fall like ninepins

  (British old-fashioned)
to be injured, or to fail in large numbers
Usage notes: Ninepins is a game in which you try to make bottle-shaped objects fall by rolling a ball at them.
(usually in continuous tenses) I've never seen so many players injured. They were going down like ninepins.
See also: down, like
References in periodicals archive ?
In this case, that something is Fourth Generation war, which is knocking Middle Eastern states down like ninepins.
Another lone hand in a losing cause, as his cavalier teammates fell like ninepins around him.
Gangsters fall like ninepins as our hero ploughs through their ranks.
Tenders are invited for Control valves angular DN32 PN160 with electric powered two pieces, the shut-off valves straight NO40 NP400/IX hand with the ends for welding four pieces, shut-off valves straight NO6 NP400/IX hand with the ends for welding four pieces, Kegl valve No40 Np400/IX 50 pieces, ninepins valve No50 Np400/IX 50 komadazaporne seal safety valve MPR unit in block 7 (pos 14,15 and 19) 3 sets, all in accordance with the technical specification, which is an integral part of the tender documents.
Aside from dolls, there were also the Knockemdown Ninepins, a pink rabbit-shaped tea set, a pair of velvet shoes, a doll house, jigsaws, train sets and more.
Many in the farming community say they are caught in a price vice wielded by the corporate players that makes dairy farming unsustainable, a contention given credibility by the fact that dairy farms are falling like ninepins.
Like ninepins, the old men fell before the onslaught of domino ignorance: the Lawnmower Saleman left squawking that he had been beaten by a novice so young he had never been in a pub before.
Now, with top three-year-olds toppling like ninepins in the States, the stage looks wide open for Alpha to record his first top-level success in the hands of champion jockey Ramon Dominguez.
Perez's Japanese teammate Kamui Kobayashi provided another moment of drama when he overshot his mark at the pit stop and sent mechanics sprawling like ninepins, without suffering serious injury.
Wickets tumbled like ninepins as leaders Dafen were dismissed for 131 by BS Port Talbot.
India completely lost their way as wickets fell like ninepins to a stunned silence at the VCA Stadium, with speedster Dale Steyn, who went for 24 off his first three overs, causing the most damage to end with a five-wicket haul for 50 runs.
A few days ago, hysterical headlines were predicting another global economic crash with banks worldwide falling like ninepins.
As the subprime crisis took its toll and banks began falling like ninepins, the magic of Wall Street disappeared almost overnight.