Peel Stun Marown to Win Rayner Shield In Thriller

The highlight of the men’s team calendar the Canada Life International sponsored Rayner Shield final was held at Port St Mary Bowling Club on Friday evening, between Peel A and Marown A. The Crosby men started as heavy favourites as the current league champions, with Peel being the ‘underdogs’ having finished in fourth place in the league in 2019, a massive 52 points behind Marown. With both captains agreeing to do the draw last Sunday, this once again generated a bit of interest with a good crowd in attendance to watch what turned out to be a great final and one of the biggest shocks in recent history.

First off the green for Marown was captain Paul Dunn who was relentless with his 21-5 victory over Dougie Allan. Next off was Tom Kelly who levelled the match on games with a 21-14 win over Phil Kelly with Tom scoring eight doubles to Phil’s three being the difference. The first shock of the night which put Peel 2-1 ahead was former Junior Manx Champion Gary Smith’s win over Neil Withers, with Smith giving up on the corners to play his own game over the middle of the green leading brilliantly to turn the game around from a 10-14 deficit to run out with a 21-15 win. Last game off in the first four was between Stevie Kelly & Paul Kelly with the latter building up a 19-11 lead before finishing the game off with a 21-16 win to level the match on games 2-2 with Marown leading by just eight chalks.

In the second half of the match the atmosphere was building in front of a good crowd with fantastic support from both teams around the green with Peel captain Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly putting in a great performance after being nilled by Colin Kelly on his own green last week to win when it mattered, after trailing 3-4 early on Barney went 20-7 ahead before claiming a convincing 21-11 win. This was quickly followed up by Andy Kennish who was always comfortable in his game to see off Matthew Keggen with a 21-13 victory for Peel to go 4-2 ahead on games and take a 10 chalk lead. This left the last two games on the green, with Dean Kipling soaking up the atmosphere and putting in a good performance to lead 15-3 against Tommy McMeiken, which he quickly finished off to win 21-6. This left the last game on the green with the experienced John Gelling for Marown up against Peter Greenlees who is in his third season of bowls, with Gelling needing only to win his game to secure the win with the chalks now in favour of Marown. Greenlees was as cool as a cucumber throughout the match after taking a 10-5 lead early on he kept his focus even after trailing 11-14 and 13-17, changing his peg to play a great bowl to get in then kept his composure taking five successive singles to go 18-17 ahead playing tight to the edge of the green where he had plenty of practice on during the week having paid several visits to Port St Mary to improve his knowledge of the green. With Greenlees lying two Gelling played a great last bowl to level things up at 18-18. On the next end Gelling was lying two only for Greenlees to bowl in with a great second bowl to go 19-18 ahead. Gelling responded with a good two on the next end to jump ahead once again at 20-19 and played a good lead bowl just over a foot away on a long length into the corner, with Greenlees playing the bowl of his life to save game and count for one to level the game at 20-20. On the deciding end Greenlees played a great lead, which Gelling just failed to beat with his first. Greenlees second bowl was in a great spot covering the line of the counting bowl, with Gelling playing his second bowl tight which resulted in a 21-20 victory for Greenlees which ultimately secured a 5-3 win and the Rayner Shield for Peel. There was a huge cheer around the green with Greenlees deservedly becoming the hero and he was quickly congratulated by his team mates for his heroic performance.

The presentation was made by competition committee officer Mark Kneen, who thanked Canada Life International for their continued sponsorship of the competition, Port St Mary Bowling Club for the use of the green and their club members for assisting throughout the evening. Peel captain Barney Kelly then accepted the Rayner Shield saving the hero of the night Peter Greenlees until last when calling up his team.