This weekend sees the start of the outdoor bowling season as local side Dunbarton begin their attempt to retain Private Greens Senior Division One.
And first up is a very tricky first game away to Irish Senior Cup champions Old Bleach. Indeed this is a repeat of last year’s cup final when the men from Randalstown got the better of their Gilford counterparts in the showpiece final. This is a very tough first fixture for the locals.
The Dunbarton senior team will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s form when they lifted the league title for the first time in four years and fell at the last hurdle after a pretty horrific draw throughout the Irish Cup.
In the Private Greens Senior Cup, the locals lost to winners Ballymena in the quarter final stage, and that was after an extra end as the game finished all square. With no new players joining, it will be a very similar squad hoping to emulate their efforts of 2014.
Individually, there will be many of the Dunbarton squad hoping to repeat their successes of last season.
DJ Wilson and Conor McCartan will be hoping to retain their place on the Irish International team while Jack Moffatt will aim to keep his place on the Junior International team.
Alongside DJ and Conor, Andy Hughes, Myles Greenfield, Marty Trainor and Pete Convery will hope to remain in the Senior Private Greens Squad while Jack, Ryan McElroy and Matthew Adamson will try to maintain their positions in the Junior Private Greens Squad.
At the end of June, Dunbarton will have two attempts to finally bring a British Isles title home when the Championships get underway outside Glasgow.
The Triple of Michael Higgins, Tony Bell and Andy Hughes will compete in the British Isles Triples Championships and Michael and Andy will team up with clubmates DJ Wilson and Myles Greenfield to attempt to lift the Fours title.
Despite numerous Irish titles for Dunbarton bowlers, no one from the successful Gilford club has ever brought a British Isles title home – could this be the year?
Next week, the Private Greens Championships will get underway and the aforementioned triple and foursome will aim to defend their titles. Conor McCartan and DJ Wilson will also try to retain their Pairs title.
Having lifted three of the main four titles on offer last year, the locals will do well to lift as many titles as last season.
There is no doubt that the Dunbarton Senior team will do well to emulate their feats of last year, but with a similar squad of players, there is no reason why another successful season cannot be achieved.