The Western Mens team have cruised into this year's Shield Final by dominating against a youthful Larne side on Saturday. With home advantage on their side, the Western team made no mistake by winning all six games on their way to a commanding win. The visitors started in determined mood both on and off the mat, and had established a five shot lead after two ends of the game, but from this point on it was one way traffic in favour of the Fermanagh side.
On Mat 1, Davy Graham took on Alan McLean and found himself in a close game at the half way point, leading 5-4. Counts of 2, 3 and 4 shots over the next four ends though put Western in a comfortable position and they sealed a 14-6 victory to get things off to the best possible start.
Meanwhile, Jason Kerr was giving Ronnie Stubbs plenty to think about on Mat 2. The Larne rink claimed five out of the first seven ends and had opened up a deserved 10-5 lead. But Stubbs showed his experience, and along with William Harpur playing third, they managed to ask a few questions of the visitors and the answers did not come back. Stubbs claimed six shots over the last three ends to claim a gutsy 11-10 win. In the final game of the first half, Jude Morris was taking on Jack Montgomery and again it was Morris’ experience that proved the difference. Despite Montgomery playing some telling bowls in the Opening ends, it was to be Morris who had the better of proceedings claiming a 12-4 win for the home side.By the break Western had opened up a 17 shot lead and looked good value for their lead.
The second half was more of the same for Western. On Mat 1, Karol Bradshaw faced Darren Witherspoon who had an attacking intent from the first end. Despite this, it was the Western foursome who played the telling bowls and claimed a 9-3 win. Mat 2 paired Gary Burke up against Mark Petticrew. Despite only winning three out of the first eight ends, the Larne rink found themselves level at 7-7. Burke went on to pick up 2 shots in the ninth end that was enough to seal the contest as the game was over at this point.
Finally, Alan Graham kept up the winning ways for Western by cruising to a 12-6 win over Simon Bell. Particularly pleasing for the selectors was Darren Hunters first performance at zone level. The Tempo club man came in at lead and had a good start on his Western debut.
All in all, it was to be a fairly straight forward victory for Western who would have expected to come through the tie from the outset. Next up for Western is a final appearance against Mid Down. This promises to be a tougher test with some experienced bowlers lining out for the Down side, but with home advantage once again going to Western, they will be hoping to make it another Shield success.
Full Results;
Trevor Brian, Matthew Ferguson, James McCaffrey & Davy Graham 14 – 6 Alan McLean
Harry Gawley, Daniel Wilson, William Harpur & Ronnie Stubbs 11 – 10 Jason Kerr
David Ferguson, David Dickson, Rodney Kelly & Jude Morris 12 – 4 Jack Montgomery
Ivor Armstrong, Eric Doogan, Niall Cox & Karol Bradshaw 9 – 3 Darren Witherspoon
Derek Gilliland, Finbar Maguire, Johnny Breadon & Gary Burke 9 – 7 Mark Petticrew
Darren Hunter, Norman Noble, Ian McElroy & Alan Graham 12 – 6 Simon Bell