The Dunbarton A team kept up their unbeaten run on Tuesday night with a hard fought win over close rivals Belmont A in Gilford in the league.
For the past number of years, Belmont and Ballymena have been Dunbarton’s biggest rivals and having beaten Ballymena a few weeks earlier at home, this was another must win for the Gilford men to rack up more points before having to travel to these two clubs later in the season.
Sure enough, the home side produced another magical display to control the game pretty much from start to finish.
Both outside rinks were the catalyst for this victory as DJ Wilson and Myles Greenfield led their rinks to five shot victories. Star performer on DJ’s rink was third Peter Convery, who gave an exhibition of the highest quality, whilst Michael Higgins leading for Myles was in terrific form.
On the middle two rinks, there was disappointment. On rink three, Andy Hughes’ four lost a last end double with the last bowl of the game when they looked to have their point in the bag and had to settle for a tie. On rink two, Conor McCartan’s four were even more disappointed as their 17-12 lead after 18 ends was wiped on ends 19 and 20 by the loss of a two and a three.
Then on the last end, they lay match with just two bowls remaining, only for the visiting skip to plant out the shot bowl and then when Conor’s on target weight shot sprung the jack, he had to look in horror as the jack bounced off a back bowl, out to the side and two shots to Belmont.
Rink 1 J Moffatt, M Merritt, P Convery, DJ Wilson up 21-16
DJ’s four, inspired by third Peter, were in control throughout. An early 5-3 lead after the first quarter, was extended to 10-7 at the midpoint. From ends 11-15, the locals seized the initiative to open up a 17-8 advantage and were comfortable five shot victors.
Rink 2 C Trainor, G Moore, G McElroy, C McCartan down 17-19
This game swung to and fro as it was the disitors that started brightly but by halfway, the hosts had levelled the scores at 9-9 and their good form continued, to open up a 17-12 lead with just three ends remaining. However, the away skip Battersby showed why he is a top, top player with three quality ends and despite Conor’s attempted heroics, the locals were gutted to lose out by two shots.
Rink 3 D Copeland, T Bell, S Adamson, A Hughes 17-17
This was undoubtedly the closest game of the evening. At the three quarters mark it was the same again as the scores were level at 12-12. Going into the final end, two shots ahead, Andy’s men thought they had done enough only for the away skip to produce a top quality final delivery, resulting in two shots and the spoils shared.
Rink 4 M Higgins, C Mulholland, M Trainor, M Greenfield up 22-17
Myles’ four were up against seasoned Irish International B Thompson and whilst the first half was very close, the locals stormed ahead in the second and their point was never in jeopardy. The hosts put the squeeze on from ends 11-15 with scores of 4,4,1,1,1 to open up an unassailable 20-8 advantage and cruised to an excellent five shot win. Lead Michael Higgins was in terrific touch.
It’s back to Irish Senior Cup action this weekend for the Gilford bowlers and having defeated last year’s winners Coleraine in the last round, the games don’t come any easier as next up is a home tie with last year’s runners up Ballymoney.
The Gilford men have mixed memories of their opponents as in 2012 it was the team from the North Coast that they defeated in the final. However last year, Ballymoney got their revenge, knocking out Dunbarton in the last 16.
The hosts will be missing their most in form player Peter Convery who will be on holiday. The game starts at 2pm.