Larne Bowling Club’s senior team defeated Irish Cup finalists Ballymena on Saturday.
The 5-2 (87-78) result effectively ended Ballymena’s Private Greens League Division 1 title challenge, but keeps Larne hot on the heels of leaders Old Bleach, who fell to an unlikely defeat at Willowfield.
Alan McLean played well through the early ends and soon built a healthy 15-3 lead after seven.
The Larne rink continued to dominate and were 21-11 up with six ends to play. The visitors moved up several gears and had levelled the game going into the final end.
Larne lay shot with the visiting skip playing his final bowl but he produced a perfect drive to kill the head and, despite McLean’s best efforts, he lost the replayed end for a disappointing 21-24 defeat.
On rink two Andy Kyle gave a masterclass against his old team to lead 11-2 at the halfway stage.
Nigel Todd and Simon Bell played superbly at the frontend to build good heads for their international skip to exploit.
Kyle kept the pressure on throughout and recorded an excellent 26-13 win to ensure an overall victory for Larne.
David McRandal’s quartet led 15-9 at halfway but were never convincing as the opposition lead constantly nailed the jack with his first bowl.
The visitors came back strongly, playing long ends and McRandal trailed 20-21 going into the final end. Brian Smyth had been saving his best and produced the two bowls required to win the point 22-21.
In the final game, Michael Murphy’s rink led 11-5 and 18-11. Similar to rink one, however, the visitors finished strongly and Murphy’s advantage was down to one playing the last end.
Michael cut the count to a single with his first bowl but the opposition skip trailed the jack for three with his final bowl to ensure Ballymena came away with two points for their efforts. Murphy’s men were deflated to lose this one 20-18.
Before the game Larne would have been delighted to win 5-2. However, having been so comfortable on all rinks to eventually lose two felt like a defeat.
n In their PGL Division 4 clash, Larne B lost to Ballymena C on a 5-2 (69-66) scoreline.