BALLYMENA A 80 v DUNBARTON A 80 – Ballymena win on extra end
The Gilford Senior team faced a battle royale when they travelled to old rivals Ballymena last Thursday in the quarter final of the Senior Private Greens Cup.
Whilst the locals had been in outstanding form, this was undoubtedly their biggest test and their unbeaten run came to an end in dramatic circumstances. After the allotted 21 ends, the scores were level and all four rinks had to play an extra end. Unfortunately for the visitors, only Myles Greenfield was able to score and it was the hosts who scraped into the semis.
After 11 ends, the away side led by 18 shots and Dunbarton were the firm favourites to progress. However, the hosts would not give up that easily. Andy Hughes’ four saw a 17-4 lead reduced to four shots while DJ Wilson’s four endured a run of non-scoring ends and went nine behind. With Myles Greenfield and Conor McCartan ahead by six, their lead was cut to just three shots.
As the game neared completion, there was nothing to separate the sides. With two rinks finished and just Conor and Dj having two ends left, the deficit was four shots. DJ finally stopped the rot to score a two while Conor lost a single and there was now three shots in the game.
DJ lay a good two shots, only for a horrible fluke from the home skip to result in a shot for Ballymena and now Conor needed a four, which remarkably he managed to score and all four rinks were back on for an extra end.
With front end bowls played on all four rinks, Dunbarton held shot on every rink, but that was as good as it got. On rink four, DJ’s miserable evening was complete when his closest bowl was removed and four shots were conceded. With Conor losing a two and Andy a single, it was all over, despite Myles scoring a four. It was an incredible game and whilst very disappointing, the Gilford men showed how much they have improved from last season and should take plenty of confidence from this performance.