DUNBARTON bowlers DJ Wilson and Conor McCartan travel to Wales this weekend as part of the Irish squad hoping to win the Home Internationals at Llandidrod Wells.
The first game against the host country will be a landmark game for DJ as it will be his 25th cap while Conor is one of two reserves hoping to get an opportunity over the weekend to wear the green jersey.
DJ will play with his usual skip Neil Booth (Old Bleach), with whom he has won his previous 24 caps. Steven Shields (Ballymena) and Barry Browne (Whitehead) will form the rest of this rink.
The Welsh match will be on Saturday morning, followed by England on Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning will see their final game against Scotland and having finished as the top two teams last year, it would be fantastic if Ireland could lift the trophy against the reigning champions.
It was a very mixed week for the Dunbarton A team as they got off to a horrible start losing their first two matches, both very narrowly, before bouncing back with two victories over the weekend.
First up was a home league match with Ulster Transport, a team that they had already defeated twice this season.
Having defeated their Jordanstown rivals twice already this season, the hosts were shocked last Tuesday night when the visitors travelled home with a narrow victory under their belt.
It was a strange game as the Gilford men got off to a dreadful start and fought back bravely only to lose at the death.
For the majority of the game, the hosts trailed by 10–15 shots, only to show guts and determination to move ahead with just a few ends remaining across the green.
With one rink off and just six ends remaining in total, Dunbarton led by four shots, their highest lead of the night. Unfortunately, the away team finished the stronger winning five of the final six ends. Despite losing just one rink, only 2.5 points were gained, a large dent to their league title hopes.
Rink 1: E McElroy, G Moore, G McElroy, C McCartan down 10-26 - Conor’s men simply never got going and endured a miserable night. The loss of a bad count of six in the middle of the game put paid to any chances of victory and a disappointing 16 shot reverse was the outcome.
Rink 2: S Trainor, J Magennis, M Merritt, M Greenfield 18-18 - Myles’ four trailed early on and were facing an early 3-10 deficit before they found their form and slowly gnawed away at the away side’s lead. Eventually with a few ends remaining, the locals had got their noses in front and looked odds on for their point when they led by three shots going into the last end and skip Myles drew the shot with his last bowl. However the Transport skip had not read the script and drove at a “bare jack”, got a very fortunate bounce and ended up with three shots. A very cruel way for Myles to lose half his point.
Rink 3: J Moffatt, C Mulholland, S Adamson, A Hughes up 26-16 - Andy and his front three were the only home rink that did not trail early on but over the first ten ends, there was little to separate the sides. However the hosts then moved through the gears and stormed ahead and this was a big reason why their teammates fought back overall. Rink 4 D Copeland, P Convery, T Bell, DJ Wilson up 21-20 - DJ’s rink started badly and trailed 0-7 after four ends and around the two thirds mark still were in arrears by seven shots at 7-14. However the Gilford rink dug in and scores of 2,2,1,2,6 saw the hosts push ahead 20-14. The drama didnt finish however as their opponents won two of the last three ends, to cut DJ’s winning margin to just one shot.
The following night the locals were on the wrong side of another really close encounter, when they got knocked out of the Senior Private Greens Cup by old rivals Belmont in a cracking tie.
As usual, battles between Dunbarton and Belmont are always hard fought, exciting games and this one was no different.
With a second division side waiting in the semi final of the Private Greens Cup, this was effectively a cup semi final and both teams wanted a place in the final.
It was the home side that started much the brighter and quickly built up a double figure lead. DJ Wilson’s four got off to a horrible start, trailing 3-15 but their comeback was a catalyst for the team’s comeback.
With Myles Greenfield’s four in imperious form and Andy Hughes’ four finishing strongly, the away side managed to tie the scores with just four indivdiual ends left.
Unfortunately, the hosts won all four final ends to win by seven shots. This was a very brave effort by the locals who showed great character for the second night running to come back from a large deficit to come oh so close to winning the game.
Rink 1: S Trainor, J Magennis, M Merritt, M Greenfield up 29-15 - Myles foursome produced an oustanding performance throughout. An early 9-6 lead improved dramatically with the addition of a count of seven on the following end and this rink cruised to victory. Lead Sean Trainor had a superb game.
Rink 2: D Copeland, M Higgins, T Bell, DJ Wilson up 19-22 - DJ’s four got off to a dreadful start losing a five on the opening end and the deficit soon increased to 3-15 as the away quartet struggled on a tricky rink. Unpeturbed however, the locals bounced back and with three ends remaining had amazingly turned their game on its head to lead 19-17. Over the last three ends, luck deserted the Dunbarton bowlers and scores of 1,1,3 were lost and an undeserved three shot defeat.
Rink 3: J Moffatt, C Mulholland, S Adamson, A Hughes 17-17 - Andy’s men had a topsy turvy contest with their adversaries as the lead swung to and fro. At the midpoint, the scores were locked at 9-9 but with four ends remaining and the team struggling overall, the visitors trailed 10-17. However, a fine finish from the locals resulted in seven unanswered shots and the scores level at the close.
Rink 4: E McElroy, G Moore, P Convery, C McCartan down 9-27 - Conor’s men endured a miserable evening against a very strong home foursome. Early on there was little to separate the sides at 5-6 but the deficit soon increased to double figures and never improved. During the run in, try as they could, the Gilford bowlers were unable to eat into the home lead and fell to a very disappointing 18 shot defeat.
The Dunbarton Senior team safely negotiated their way into the last eight of the Irish Senior Cup on Saturday with a comfortable 75 shot win over Ballycastle in Gilford.
On paper the locals were expected to win the game at a canter and sure enough, this game was won without too much fuss.
All four rinks were victorious with DJ Wilson’s rink amassing a massive 47 shots and finishing ahead by a remarkable 38 shots.
Both Conor McCartan and Andy Hughes led their rinks to double figure wins and only Myles Greenfield and his front three had to work for their victory, eventually scraping home by two shots.
The locals have been rewarded with another home tie in the quarter finals when they host Portrush. Having lost at the same stage two years ago to the same team, this will be the perfect opportunity for the locals to gain revenge, on a much better playing surface!
Rink 1: M Higgins, P Convery, G McElroy, C McCartan up 28-10 - This was a game of two halves as the vistors actually led at the midpoint, 9-10. During the second half however, there was only one rink in it as they moved up through the gears to cruise to a facile 18 shot success.
Rink 2: D Copeland, G Moore, T Bell, DJ Wilson up 47-9 - The difference in class between the two teams was clearly evident on this rink as DJ’s four had a field day. In one of the most one sided games seen in Gilford for many years, the locals won by a whopping 38 shots and only for some excellent saving shots by the away skip, the scoreline could have been much worse for the men from the North Coast.
Rink 3: J Moffatt, C Mulholland, S Adamson, A Hughes 30-13 - Andy and his team mates got off to a flyer and never looked back. After just five ends, the locals led 10-1 and from thereonin, the locals eased to a 17 shot success without getting out of second gear.
Rink 4: E McElroy, J Magennis, M Merritt, M Greenfield up 20-18 - This was the one close game of the day as the away rink battled valiantly. An early 9-3 lead looked to have set Myles’ men on their way but with three ends remaining, the Ballycastle rink had moved ahead 13-17. The locals however showed their mettle with a count of five on the 19th end and a double on the penultimate end which ensured a narrow two hot win.
The locals shook off their midweek disappointment in the league to bounce back with a fine six points away to Pickie.
A tough game was expected against their North Down compatriots but in truth this was a game that the locals led from start to finish and never looked like losing. Andy Hughes and his front three took the game by the scruff of the neck and their superb effforts ensured that the lion’s share of the points were going to Gilford.
On a very tricky green both Conor McCartan and DJ Wilson led their rinks to excellent victories thanks to blistering second half performances.
Unfortunately Myles Greenfield was unable to make it a full house as he ran into an inspired performance by the home skip and had to settle for a six shot reverse. A fine team performance nonetheless and keeps the locals still in the title hunt.
Rink 1: J Moffatt, C Mulholland, S Adamson, A Hughes up 33-12 - Andy’s four were the flagbearers in this game as they got off to a flyer and set the tempo early for an excellent Dunbarton win. Leading 17-4 at the midpoint their point was in the bag, and during the second half, the locals simply added to their shots without conceding many. A superb 21 shot was achieved by the close.
Rink 2: S Trainor, J Magennis, M Merritt, M Greenfield down 17-23 - Myles’ foursome were the only rink that started badly, albeit they were up against an inspired home skip. After the first third they were in arrears 3-10 but a purple patch in the middle of the game got the visitors in front and a great chance of their point. With five ends remaining, the Gilford men led 16-14 and with momentum were the favourites to gain their point. Once again, the home skip was having none of it and some excellent deliveries resulted in scores of 2,1,3,3 and Myles’ men were condemned to a six shot defeat.
Rink 3: D Copeland, G Moore, T Bell, DJ Wilson up 30-14 - This was very much a game of two halves as after nine ends, the home side held a narrow 8-9 advantage. Over the second half of the game, the locals completely outbowled their rivals scoring 22 shots to their rivals 5 and a very comfortable 16 shot success.
Rink 4: M Higgins, P Convery, G McElroy, C McCartan up 25-14 - This game was nip and tuck early on with little separating the sides. With the scores tied at 10-10, skip Conor led the charge with a magnificent final bowl to turn the jack for five shots and over the next two ends, eight more shots were scored to effectively guarantee their point. By the close, an excellent 11 shot success was achieved.
The locals will be hoping to keep their league hopes intact when they travel to Belmont this Tuesday night (26th) in a game that is vital to both sides if either are to stop Ballymena from lifting the title.
The Dunbarton seniors have no game this Saturday due to involvement of DJ Wilson and Conor McCartan in the Home Internationals in Wales.