When the two sides met earlier in the season in Larne, Curran defeated Whitehead ‘B’ in a thrilling match which went to the very last bowl.
Whitehead emerged victorious by 15 shots but it was touch-and-go for a while. The six points keeps them in the top three while Curran remain in the bottom third of the league table, still needing points to ensure safety.
The villagers had to manage without the services of several key stalwarts. The ‘A’ team selectors had called up Hugh McHugh, Simon Beggs and Jason Tweedie to reinforce their title chase while John Phillips remained on holiday.
Luckily the experienced and talented Michael Crooks and Cecil Knox were both available for this vital contest and Crooks certainly made his presence felt, playing at third to Brian Connor against Raymond Robinson. He, and the immaculate Curran hero, Greg Lorimer, had a spectacular contest, with the Whitehead man just edging to victory. With Ernie Hockings and Stevie Dodds doing all that was asked of them, the home four were the day’s biggest winners, claiming a memorable scalp 24 - 13.
It looked as if Robert Ruddock had masterminded a similar success against Michael Dickey. At 16 ends they had opened up a nine-shot lead; Davy Sheldon was rolling them in and the Nicholl-Miskimmin partnership was bearing fruit. Then they lost the jack! Michael shortened the heads and his men roared back into the match. Suddenly Harkin, Poag and McIlwrath started to make it look like an easy game and the tide turned dramatically. Even so, none but the most optimistic Curran men would have dared expect the 20 - 23 outcome. Twelve unanswered shots over three ends did the damage!
Dean Smith made sure that the Whites made no such mistakes against Dodsworth’s rink. After the early skirmishes, the sides were level after 12 ends. Then the Whitehead four grabbed a five and just kept their noses in front to record a 20 - 15 victory. The Curran four, with Sam McKibbin campaigning at second looked powerful all game, but met their match in a very determined home four who had a very assured third in the form of Colin Todd.
It was left to Geoff Falconer to wrap up the Whitehead victory. Playing against his former team-mate, Geoff had to dig deep to avoid defeat at the hands of Curran’s ambitious Hunter four. He was certainly glad of the accurate contribution from young Andy Thom at third. A strong finish saw them through to an exciting 18 - 16 success.
Result: Whitehead ‘B’ (82) 6 points v Curran ‘A’ (67) 1 point