Larne entertained relegation-threatened Civil Service in their final league game of the season. The visitors needed at least two points to have any chance of avoiding the drop, while Larne would ensure a top-half finish with a win.
The Larne selectors picked a strong side with only regular skip Gavin Johnston unavailable. Eddie Wilson kept his position at skip while Paul Robinson returned to the fold in place of Gavin.
Eddie was drawn on rink two and with excellent support from the ever reliable front end combination of Harry Millar and George Woods controlled his game from start to finish. Raymond Lyness again impressed his vastly experienced skip, who has seen many players come and go in his time and rates the big man very highly. The home rink led from start to finish and despite a spirited late comeback from the desperate visitors they held on to win by 4 shots in a high scoring encounter.
Alan McLean retained his partnership with Ian Semple, Gary Neill and Michael Murphy and again this rink performed well to set up an early advantage through the opening ends. Ian, Gary and Michael were all on their games as the rink took a seven-shot lead into the final quarter of the game. Alan, as in recent matches, found his rink struggling a little towards the conclusion of the game; and again found his best form to guide the boys home for a narrow victory with some telling bowls.
Paul Robinson seemed to have the plum draw on rink four against a midweek four from NICS. However, as Paul found out, midweek these games are not always a formality and the visiting skip was in inspired form through the first half of this game to keep his outclassed rink in the contest at 11-11 after 11 ends. Eventually, the stronger home rink made their greater consistency pay off and Paul, assisted by Stephen Snoddy, Bryan Smyth and Simon Bell, ran out victors by 8 shots.
In the final game David McRandal’s home four of Jim Rennie, Davy Snoddy and Chris Snoddy were drawn against Irish international skip Alan Montgomery’s in-form rink. The homesters found the classy Montgomery a handful throughout and found themselves down by 12 at the halfway stage. The home rink rallied well in the third quarter to reduce the deficit to just 2 shots with 4 ends remaining, but again the visiting rink produced their best form and David’s rink succumbed to a 10-shot defeat.
The final result was a 4-shot success for the Larne men and 6 league points to ensure a 7th place finish in the league. Despite a major upheaval in the team this season they have maintained a good league position.
The selectors have had a torrid time with unavailability of players through much of the campaign, but the deputising juniors have all performed well when called upon. In all, a very creditable performance over the course of the summer for a team with a bright future.
1. Millar, Woods, Lyness, Wilson won 28-24
2. Semple, Neill, Murphy, McLean won 20-18
3. S Snoddy, Smyth, Bell, Robinson won 23-18
4. Rennie, D Snoddy, C Snoddy, McRandal lost 13-23