Rayner Shield Final Preview
The final of the Canada Life International sponsored Rayner Shield takes place on Thursday evening at the Villa between league leaders South Ramsey A and Peel A, the current top two teams in Division One for what promises to be a close encounter.
Peel A are the current holders of the Rayner Shield following their upset over a heavily fancied Marown A at Port St Mary last year, while South Ramsey A won a thriller in 2019 which also happened to be at the Villa against Marown A.
Peel A were the first team to reach the final following their convincing and expected 7-1 home win over Castletown B to reach the final, while South Ramsey A had a much tougher task in their semi-final having to overcome Marown A at Crosby, which they did in style as they won 6-2 away from home to cause a massive upset on the night in front of a good home crowd.
South Ramsey are led by captain Glynn Hargraves, start as slight favourites and they have a few of their players in good form performing well in the individual merit this season, however they will not underestimate the Peel men who are just six points behind them in the league and are more than capable of turning over anyone having beaten Marown A twice in the past year.
Peel have a new captain this year with Gary Smith stepping up to lead the team, with their star man Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly having won an open this season and retaining the Over 60’s Manx Championship, they also have a good mixture of youth in the form of Stevie Kelly and Tom Kelly, along with the experience of three time Manx Champion Andy Kennish who has returned to form over the past couple of years, while the return of Tommy McMeiken and George Gadsby to the Peel Team cannot be understated. Another man to mention for Peel is the 2020 Rayner Shield final hero Peter Greenlees who will be looking to turn in another standout performance for his team having only taken up the game in 2018, his rise has been meteoric.
The eight-man team format has worked well over recent years with the chalks adding an extra element to what teams have to play for, as whilst players could lose their individual game they can still contribute to the team’s victory should the match end up 4-4 on games by contributing to the chalks.
The draw took place at Onchan Bowling Club on Friday evening prior to the Rayner Plate Final, with some great match ups this could turn out to be another great final for the spectators. The match starts at 6:45pm. Peel have won this competition three times to date, while South Ramsey have four wins. Best of luck to both teams.