Dunbarton duo receive Ireland’s call

DJ Wilson is delighted to have been selected on the Ireland team for the 11th year in a row. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye
DJ Wilson is delighted to have been selected on the Ireland team for the 11th year in a row. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye

Dunbarton’s DJ Wilson has secured his place on the Ireland squad for the Home Internationals for the 11th year in a row.

The experienced bowler will be off to Leamington Spa to take on the pick of bowlers from the British Isles on 28-29 June. In a busy week, he’ll also be representing his club in the British Isles Championships Triples on 26-27.

That comes after he, Conor McCartan and David Copeland won the Irish title. Conor’s performances earned him a reserve spot on the Ireland team, an honour for the local duo to be called up to the international stage.

“If you can’t enjoy playing for your country, you shouldn’t be playing bowls. It’s just great to be involved again,” said DJ.

“It’s great to play against the guys I’d watch on TV. That’s why I got involved, to play against them.

“When I got on the team in 2004, Ireland had won the Championships three times in 103 years. Since then, we’ve won it three more times.

“It’s not down to me but we have been up there. We came runners-up last year and were really close to winning again. We were level with England going into the last game but they won it.”

“We have a really strong team again this year and a good chance. We have nothing to fear,” continued an upbeat Wilson after his selection was confirmed on Saturday evening.

“This makes all the days standing on your own in the rain putting in the yards worthwhile. I decided at the start of this year to play at least five days a week, sometimes six and sometimes seven. I wanted to come away from this week knowing that, if we didn’t win, it wouldn’t be for a lack of effort.

“We’ve put a lot of time and effort in on the green to be ready for it all.”

Wilson will again be playing alongside long-term Ireland skip Neil Booth, who is set to make his last appearance at the Home Internationals this year.

“It’s my 11th successive year in the team and it’ll be the 11th year playing with the same skip,” said Wilson. “Neil’s off to the Commonwealth Games and is retiring after that so, if I got in next year, it would be strange playing with somebody else.”

It’s all just reward for DJ and Conor’s efforts last year, when they won their Irish Triples title. In a big week, they’ll be bidding to win British Isles titles for both club and country.

DJ said: “We’ve been drawn against Scotland in the club competition and if we win that, we’ll go against the winners of Guernsey and Jersey in the semi-finals.

“The club has never won a British Isles title before. We have plenty of Irish titles but haven’t managed a British one so it would be nice to do that.”

DJ is coming off the back of his weekend representing the Private Greens League in the Inter-Association Championships.

“The Championships were a bit disappointing, winning one game and losing two,” he said. “It was frustrating but overall, it was a good weekend. My main aim was to play well enough to keep myself in the Ireland team and thankfully I did that.

Their clubmates at Dunbarton would like to congratulate DJ and Conor and hope that once again they will do their club proud.