2014 has been a glorious season for the Gilford senior team. Right from the start of the season, the 18 man squad showed a determination and hunger that has been missing in previous years, and the locals led the league from start to finish.
The first league match of the season saw the locals hammer Falls, a team that had defeated the locals in Gilford the previous year and their 60 shot hammering of their West Belfast opponents was a clear signal of intent!
Successive home wins against their two biggest rivals Belmont and Ballymena were a massive confidence boost and with routine wins away to Forth River, Willowfield and a home success over Ewarts suddenly the Dunbarton bowlers had won 7 out of 7.
In the two cup competitions, there were mixed fortunes. In the Private Greens Cup, second division sides Cliftonville and Salisbury were despatched before a cruel extra end defeat in the quarter final with Ballymena.
In the Irish Senior Cup, the locals despatched with last year’s winners and runners up when they defeated Coleraine (a) followed by Ballymoney (h).
After the holiday break, any thoughts of Dunbarton cruising to a comfortable league success were quickly dispelled when a nightmare trip to Belmont resulted in the locals travelling home empty handed. However they quickly bounced back and put paid to Forth River and Pickie before a crucial trip to Ballymena. With their rivals 12 points behind and a game in hand, every point was crucial and despite losing by six shots, vitally they managed to score three points – on the same night Belmont also lost and again the Gilford men knew it was now completely in their own hands.
At this stage the Irish Cup run was gathering full momentum as both Cookstown and then Portrush were defeated with relative ease and a mouthwatering semi final clash with old rivals Belmont awaited. In a cracking game the Gilford side held their nerve to complete a fine victory and set them up for a possible league and cup double.
In the league a trilogy of games with Old Bleach would effectively decide their season. First up was the away league game and with a rather insipid performance the locals lost by 16 shots. The Irish Cup final was also lost and suddenly it looked as though all their hard work may go unrewarded. Thankfully however, their home form stood them well as they finally got revenge at the third attempt in the league leaving the hosts 2 points clear of Belmont, each with a game left. While Dunbarton strongly fancied their chances at home to Ulster Transport, Belmont had a much more difficult final game away to third placed Ballymena four days earlier. The locals did not have to worry, as Belmont managed just half a point and the league was wrapped up with a game to spare.
All Saints Tullylish Pairs Competition is running from September 22 to 25 with the Finals on Friday Sept 26. Anyone wishing to enter should contact Angela Cannaway on 07901 828158 or Reggie Bolton on 07789 758663. Please book early as entries are limited to 24 pairs per night.