Double Celebration for Larne Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club
The members of Larne Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club have plenty of reason to celebrate in 2008! The club is marking its 100th Birthday and are building a new pavilion, thanks to a Sport Northern Ireland award of £520,000. The new facility will include changing areas; a multi-purpose room for meetings, coaching and social use; and kitchen, storage and office space.
Speaking on this investment, Una Duncan Sport Northern Ireland Board Member said: “Sport Northern Ireland is committed to increasing and sustaining participation in sport. This project will have a particular emphasis on improving facilities for juniors and people with disabilities; and we are delighted to be a part of this.” She continued: “The new pavilion will allow the club to promote tennis and bowls in the local area and to schools, as the old facilities didn’t have the necessary changing and training accommodation to facilitate this. This advancement will place sports development further at the heart of this established club.”
The clubs members were overjoyed with news of the award as Club Chairperson, Helen Russell comments: “We were ecstatic when we heard our plans were finally going to come to fruition. We have high standard playing facilities including an International standard bowling green and four tennis courts but the pavilion was just no longer fit for purpose. As a dual club for both bowls and tennis we have over 450 members and this new pavilion will make a large impact on all of these people.”
The club has nearly 200 bowling members, with a number of internationals. International player, Lisa McDonagh believes bowls is a sport for everyone. She stared to play bowls as a teenager and became Under 25 Irish Champion in 1995. She has since been selected to represent Ireland in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 and in 2005 she represented Ireland in the Atlantic Rim. “I would encourage any young person to take up bowls, it is a great sport. I play regularly for my Larne club in the private greens league and have just recently acquired my umpire’s qualification.”
Another club bowls international is David McRandal. Encouraged by father Joe, David joined the Larne club in his early teens and was soon included in the under 25 international team. Since then David has enjoyed success in many open NIPGA bowling competitions and represents the private greens in the inter-association games. He was selected to represent Ireland in the UK championships in 2006 which they won out right and again in 2007. David plays regularly for the Larne senior team and is among the three generations of McRandal’s who make sport a family affair using the club to play both tennis and bowls.
The clubs portfolio of tennis players is equally impressive. Sisters Lauren and Lynsey Smythe are two extremely successful members of the club. Lauren first played for Ulster at an Irish ranking tournament in 1994 aged 12. In 2007 she captained the Ulster U25 team and at club level she currently captains Division 1 Ladies singles Belfast & District.
Lynsey played on the junior inter provincial team from the age of 12 in 1998, until the age of 18. Lynsey has won the Senior singles titles at the Ulster Championships in 2006 and 2007 and also the CIYMS senior singles titles. She currently plays number 1 for her Larne Club ladies singles and mixed teams.
Another promising young talent at the club is Lynsey McCullough who is the current U16 Irish Ladies singles and mixed doubles champion. In the last year she has represented Ireland in the European Junior Team Championships and played in various European Tennis Association Tournaments (ETA) U16 and International Tennis Tournaments (ITF) under 18 in Europe. Recently she increased her ranking at an ITF Tournament in Norway and is hoping to continue to increase her ranking over the coming months, and to defend her Irish title in Dublin at the end of August.
Larne Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club caters for tennis and bowls players of all ages and abilities and with a new pavilion on its way the prospects for this club are bright. Building work is now underway and the club are hoping that the pavilion will be ready in time for their centenary celebrations later in the year!