All Saints pair DJ and Jonny Wilson were the perhaps unsurprising winners of Dunbarton’s first short mat pairs tournament in years earlier this month.
Bowlers from across the country descended on Gilford for the evening, such as experienced short mat names in Andy Leckey, Marty Trainor and the Stubbs brothers were joined by recent outdoor Atlantic Rim Pairs Gold Medallist Ian McClure.
But it was the Dunbarton duo who came out on top.
At a packed hall, the pair of Gordon & Raymond Stubbs (Ballinderry) along with Nathan Haire (Hillsborough) and Terry Crawford (St. Anthony’s) progressed through their preliminary games with victories over Jennifer and Megan Wilson (Michelin) and Martin Jameson & Alan Irwin (Loughanreagh).
The Wilson bros set down the marker with a 9-3 quarter-final victory over St Mark’s duo Lisa Douglas and Jal Richardson with an end to spare but the other three were close.
In a fascinating game, Haire/Crawford defeated the Stubbs brothers 7-6, with Crawford producing a superb last bowl to guarantee victory with game against.
Experienced short mat bowler Rodney McCutcheon and partner Jackie Erskine came back from 7-1 down against Donaghmore pair Ennis Hamilton and Paul Hagan to force a tie end to take a single shot victory.
In similar circumstances, Richard McMullan and Mark Sproule of Cranagill secured victory over Cookstown High father and son combination of Hugh and Alan Paul. The Mid-Ulster pair found themselves 7-0 ahead and on the verge of an early victory, only for the Portadown duo to roar back and win 10-9.
Yet another tie end was to be played in the semi final stages, with Haire/Crawford forcing the game to go the distance against the Wilson Bros. In a tight game, the Tullylish pair went into the final end 4-6 adrift but forced a tie end and forced a single to wind.
In the second semi, McMullan/Sproule were always in control against McCutcheon/Erskine and won 8-6,
And so, after 120 entries and five nights of qualifying, two remained. In what was a much anticipated final, the Wilson brothers hit the ground running, over what many had thought was the best pair up unto this point.
In the first end, a count of a maximum four shots set the Tullylish men on their way. They followed this up with scores of one and two to open up a 7-0 lead with only three ends gone.
In end four, Mark Sproule found himself with a possible game against even at the early stage, another four shots down with his last delivery. Playing with weight, he struck the head removing a number of bowls which resulted in a no-score end played scenario. But the onslaught continued from the impressive Wilsons.
Two more singles on ends five and six and they increased their lead to 9-0. The Portadown men were to score a single on end seven but it was a mere consolation in a 10-1 result.
Dunbarton BC would like to thank everyone who supported the tournament. Sponsors The Mill Ballydugan, Downpatrick, Keith Wright Bowling Equipment, all members and local businesses who so kindly made donations and everyone who participated.