Larne suffer Irish Cup exit at hands of Ballycastle

Darren Witherspoon in action for Larne in their Irish Cup game with Ballycastle. INLT 25-005-PSB
Darren Witherspoon in action for Larne in their Irish Cup game with Ballycastle. INLT 25-005-PSB

Larne lost out to Provincial Towns’ club Ballycastle in round three of the Irish Cup on Saturday.

David McRandal’s rink took command of their game through the opening ends to race into a 12-3 lead. Harry Millar, Brian Smyth, Gavin Johnston and David looked to be well on their way to a big win but the visiting four hadn’t read the script and immediately scored 4, 3 to wipe out the advantage before edging into a four-shot lead with four ends to play.

McRandals’s rink found their range to pick up a 19-17 win.

Stephen Dalrymple, Eddie Wilson, Nigel Todd and Paul Robinson were involved in a low-scoring game. With most players struggling with the quick surface, Robinson finished his game with a 17-13 win.

Alan McLean’s heroes of the second round led 7-5 through the opening ends. Darren Witherspoon, Raymond Lyness, Chris Snoddy and McLean had a quiet day and a run of five lost ends in the latter stages saw them fall away for a disappointing 14-18 defeat - only their second in 10 games.

Alan Mairs, Andrew Robinson, Simon Bell and Michael Murphy had a nightmare start as they trailed 4-23 after 13 ends.

The opposition were loving the conditions and getting the rubs as Murphy’s troops tried to get a foothold in the game.

A pair of fours brought some respectability to the scoreline which read 14-24 with three ends to play. These ends were the last of the game as Murphy needed to score eight to force a tie.

Larne were restricted to a single on the 19th end, but then lay a count of six in the 20th end with one bowl remaining.

The Ballycastle skip drove the jack perfectly but it ricocheted back up the green and Larne counted two, needing to score five on the final end. Murphy killed the first attempt and then Robinson almost killed the second end, but it wasn’t to be and they scored 1 to lose 18-24.

It was a great comeback, but with no other rink able to win by a sizeable margin Larne lost the game by four.

The team will need to get over this humbling experience as they host Willowfield this Saturday looking to keep their place at the top of the league.