Rayner Shield Final Preview/Player Profile

Marown A take on South Ramsey A in the final of the 3R’s Limited Rayner Shield at Castletown tomorrow evening with just four points separating both teams in the league it could be too close to call.

The Crosby men have won this competition 16 times to date, with their last success a stunning comeback against South Ramsey A in 2018. South Ramsey are the current holders and have won the competition five times, with four of those wins arriving from 2015 onwards.

Over the past 10 years these teams have faced off in four finals with both teams picking up two wins each.

Game 1 – David Bradford vs Peter Jones

Bradford is without doubt the man in form for both teams, having picked up three open wins in the past few weeks, with his second Manx Championship being one of them to follow up on his 2015 success. A Festival winner as a teenager in 2002, Bradford is a regular winner of opens, has won the Manx Masters on three occasions.

Marown have undoubtedly strengthened their ranks with the mid-season signing of Jonah who has been a regular for Merseyside over the years, and has been a frequent visitor to the Isle of Man for the Festival. Jonah has recently relocated to the Island and is starting to settle into life on the Isle of Man having picked up his first Open win since moving over as he beat team mate Neil Withers in the final of the Douglas Town Cup.

Game 2 – Dido Kelly vs Colin Kelly

A pre-festival winner of the Autumn Shield, recent open winner at South Ramsey with the Jim Kernan Cup, Dido’s main focus these days is towards his club team as he rarely enters opens. His club record is second to none over the past three league seasons and that is in a team that includes David Bradford.

Colin is a seven time Manx Champion, the most decorated player appearing in the final. Colin has won the Festival once, is probably unlucky not to have won it more. His defining and proudest moment was winning the Champion of Champions title in 2019. His last Manx Championship success – won on his home green won’t have been far behind though. Too many open wins to mention is fair to say with one in the bag so far this season.

Game 3 – Glynn Hargraves vs Sam Clague

Hargraves suffered two defeats in the final of the Manx Championship in 2007 and 2009, before going on to win back to back titles in 2012 and 2013 the second of which was at Castletown, to become the first father and son to win the coveted trophy, with his Dad winning in 1987 at South Ramsey. Retaining the trophy in 2013 Hargraves became one of just four people to do so after winning the title for the first time. A previous Manx Masters winner and has won two singles opens to date this season.

‘Sammy’ was a surprise package in the Association Cup in 2020, as he went on to win beat an in form Paul Dunn in the final at Castletown. Clague made the move to Marown over the winter. A former home greener at Castletown, which his team will be hoping to use to their advantage on Friday evening.

Game 4 – James Teare vs Dean Kipling

T-Bag came into the A Team in 2019, winning an impressive 18 out of 22 games as a replacement for John Kennish, no mean feat in itself. T-Bag is a regular winner of Mixed Doubles competitions, and has picked up more than one Men’s Doubles title. James is comfortable with the added pressure of appearing in finals, once he gets into his groove he can be difficult to stop.

Kipling picked up his one and only Manx Championship in 1992 at Port Erin beating Dennis Gelling in the final. Dean doesn’t get in opens as much these days, but is a big game player and is as important to Marown off the green as he is on it. His record representing the Isle of Man is up there with the best.

Game 5 – Bob Clark vs Phil Kelly

The 2021 runner up in the Manx Championship, Bob has stepped up his performances over the past 18 months, with his new approach towards his game paying off. Bob picked up the Dreswick Cup last year recovering from a 20-14 deficit against Glynn Hargraves to win 21-20 and in doing so became the last winner on the old green. He wasn’t quite able to repeat the trick this year coming up against team mate David Bradford in the final. Following a move to South Ramsey over the winter, he hasn’t disappointed with his performances.

Rambo won the Manx Championship in 1994 at Noble’s on his former home green with a 21-20 win in the final over John Saunders, he was the first winner of the Manx Masters in its current format. Rambo has been in good form recently picking up the June Player of the Month having won the Heywood Gelling beating Marown’s ‘big three’ on the way to victory.

Game 6 – Jordan Cain vs Neil Withers

Jords was runner up in the final of the Manx Championship in 2019, with Colin Kelly the only man able to stop him on the day. Having spent nine years at Onchan, Jordan made the move north for a fresh challenge, he is starting to settle in well as he gets to grip with the South Ramsey green.

For Nev home green glory arrived in the Manx Championship in 2009, with a 21-19 victory over Glynn Hargraves, however his finest moment was winning the June Festival in 2013. A winner of multiple opens over the years. Nev is one half of the best doubles partnership in recent years, with the pair proving difficult to shift.

Game 7 – Peter Collister vs Paul Kelly

Collie famously did the double winning the 1983 June Festival and Tourism competitions and was one of the most consistent players in the 80’s and 90’s. After a lengthy spell out of the game Collister returned to league bowls full time in 2013. Collie turned 60 earlier this year, however he is in fine form for his team this season having lost just two league fixtures to date, picked up the Noble’s Cup last weekend with John Kennish.

PK is well travelled having learnt his craft at Noble’s Mixed, turning out for Castletown, Douglas and has now settled at Marown. Another who doesn’t get in many singles opens, however he has picked up two mens doubles wins so far this season. Another former home greener, who loves to have a strike.

Game 8 – Stefan Kelly vs Paul Dunn

The Peel Town Cup last year wasn’t Stefan’s first singles win, this was actually achieved in the U.K. a few years earlier beating John Kennish en-route to victory. ‘Stiffy’ as he is affectionately called by his team mates has won several doubles titles with a variety of partners. Relishes the big games and performs well when needed.

Dunner was hot favourite to become Manx Champion in 2020 and didn’t disappoint. He has become a regular winner of Opens over the past few years, with his time and dedication towards his bowls now reaping dividends, he is one of Marown’s most consistent performers in recent seasons, is going well in the individual merit as he currently occupies top spot.