Dunbarton do the double and there’s another one to come!

What a week it has been for Dunbarton Bowling Club, who won the three biggest games of their season, keeping alive their hopes of a second ever treble. Pictures by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
What a week it has been for Dunbarton Bowling Club, who won the three biggest games of their season, keeping alive their hopes of a second ever treble. Pictures by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.

Dunbarton Bowling Club are within touching distance of their second treble.

The Gilford side claimed both the Private Greens Cup and the Irish Senior Cup last week and defeated Larne in a Division One top of the table clash.

Michael Higgins Captain of Dunbarton Bowling Club holds the Irish Senior Cup aloft.

Michael Higgins Captain of Dunbarton Bowling Club holds the Irish Senior Cup aloft.

It was all in all, a perfect week for the local side, that climaxed in one of the most thrilling Irish Senior Cup victories ever witnessed and the seventh in Dunbarton’s history.

Trailing by 26 shots to Ballymena at the three quarters stage, the men in yellow and black looked dead and buried but out of the blue, they turned the game on its head to win by six shots and allow captain Michael Higgins (right) to lift the trophy.

“The character and team spirit in the side at the minute is unbelievable,” said bowler DJ Wilson. “For everybody to dig in and play the way we did in that final quarter really was incredible.”

The comeback looked so unlikely that some of the Dunbarton support even left the ground, only to be told later on of what had unfolded at the Old Bleach club in Randalstown.

“We were getting hammered and the game was dead, really,” confessed DJ.

“We just kept saying to ourselves not to give up and we didn’t. It was similar to the 2002 final but it was an even bigger turnaround this
time.

“Andy Hughes’ rink did really well but as a team, we didn’t play to our best. When push came to shove though, that didn’t matter and we played some really big shots to get the job done.

“As we got closer and closer and got their lead down to single figures, we could see the nerves were setting in and once get got it down to three, there was only going to be one winner.”

That Irish Cup win added to Thursday’s success in the Private Greens Cup, when a 47 shot success over Willowfield was an altogether more straight-forward affair.

“Thursday was a bit of an anti-climax because we won so comfortably. We played well and never looked like losing. The match was over with about 10 ends to go,” said DJ.

Now the club’s attention will once again turn to the league, where their comeback success over Larne last week has put them in the driving seat.

They turned a 20 shot deficit into a 14 shot win at the home of their title rivals.

“We really should do the treble now,” said a confident DJ, whose side host Ewarts and Ulster Transport before travelling to Ballymena on the final day.

“Saturday’s result and the way it came has given everyone a massive lift. If we can get two seven point wins at home, we will be virtually there. Two sixes wouldn’t be a disaster but we really don’t want any less than that from these next two games.

“It’s in our own hands and we might not even need to beat Ballymena but a lot will depend on other results.”

Dunbarton are currently half a point behind Larne with a game in hand, while they have played a game more than Belmont, who could still triumph, 8.5 points behind the Gilford side.

Dunbarton also won the Alwood Shield in Lurgan on Friday.

Just three matches stand between the club and a repeat of their 2009 treble. They can get within a whisker of or, depending on other results, possibly even seal the league title this week when they host Ewarts tonight (Tuesday) and Ulster Transport on Saturday. They then travel to Ballymena on Saturday 5th September for the last game.