Bowls: Verterans win Hatch Cup

In the absence of opportunities to win silverware by any of Larne Bowling club’s other teams, it was left to the veterans’ side to fly the flag as they took on favourites Lurgan in the final of the over-60s Northern Ireland team trophy.

Larne’s stronger vets side comfortably progressed to the final last week at Musgrave thanks to a classy performance from George McKinley’s rink of Ronnie McGarry, Leslie King and Jim Smith who recorded an excellent 18-shot success.

Due to the unavailability of Johnny Hamill, club vice-president Charlie Millar was drafted in at second on McKinley’s rink with King moving across to fill the berth at third to Eddie Wilson.

The final, played at Belmont on Friday morning, began as a tense and tight affair as the Larne men came to terms with the conditions and their opposition.

It wasn’t long though before Wilson’s rink moved through the gears and began to build a match-winning advantage. Jimmy Patton and Ronnie Blair were dominating the front-end bowling, allowing the excellent duo of King and Wilson turn the screw. Counts of five and six took the team into a commanding lead as Wilson cruised to a 19-shot success.

On the other rink, McKinley’s quartet - including Ronnie McGarry, Millar and Jim Smith - were battling hard to keep in touch with their opposition.

A count of six on the penultimate end took McKinley into a four-shot lead and he hung on to win his match by six.

It was an excellent result for Larne with all eight players receiving great praise from supporters and team manager Joe McRandal.