Dunbarton secure their fifth title at Belmont
Dunbarton A 119 (7)
Belmont Park A 48 (0)
THE Dunbarton senior team are league champions for a fifth successive season.
With a thumping 71 shot victory over lowly Belmont Park, the locals wrapped up the title in style. Needing a minimum of 3.5 points to retain the title, this result was never in doubt and the Gilford side cruised to a maximum point victory.
Only once before had this feat been accomplished, by the mighty Falls side in the late 1970s who recorded six league titles in succession. The locals will be aiming to match this record next year.
Against Belmont Park it was important that the locals got off to a good start to settle any potential nerves. However the experience of previous last day league title wins obviously stood the team in good stead as they raced into a 17-1 lead after just two ends across the green.
Already the league title was in their grasp and there was only going to be one outcome.
By the midpoint it was time to uncork the champagne bottles as the hosts had built up an enormous 51 shot lead. On rink one Conor McCartan had amassed 24 shots for the loss of four while DJ Wilson wasn’t too far behind on the neighbouring rink, ahead 19-3. On the other middle rink Myles Greenfield was in front 13-6, while Andy Hughes was one shot better off at 13-5 on rink four. It was all over bar the shouting.
At the three quarter mark, the onslaught continued and the overall home advantage was now a massive 76 shots. Conor was clear by 28 shots, DJ by 22, Andy by 18 and Myles by eight. There was now a party atmosphere across the green!
The final few ends were played out without the same level of concentration as the job was done and another glorious season was ending with yet more silverware. Conor finished top of the pile with a 24 shot success while DJ was two shots behind, up 22. Andy finished ahead by 13 with Myles one shot less, winning by 12.
A fantastic league campaign once again, the highlight being the 55 shot drubbing off double cup winners Ballymena a fortnight ago in Gilford. Special credit must be given to selectors Gary McElroy and Eddie Campbell who faced the daunting task of trying to pick teams week in week out to ensure more silverware whilst keeping everyone happy. Tough decisions were not shirked and these paid off handsomely.
A special mention must also be given to David Copeland who had an outstanding debut season at lead and fitted in to the club as if he had been playing there all his life.
Rink 1: D McElroy, E Campbell, G McElroy, C McCartan up 38-14
Rink 2: D Copeland, P Adamson, T Bell, DJ Wilson up 33-11
Rink 3: M Higgins, J Magennis, T Mulholland, M Greenfield up 24-12
Rink 4: D Pedan, I Perry, S Adamson, A Hughes up 24-11
Unfortunately while the Dunbarton A team endured the ecstasy of a fifth league title, their Junior team endured the utmost agony later in the afternoon when they lost in the final of the Irish Junior Cup at Belmont.
Facing Old Bleach, not only did the game finish all square after the allotted 21 ends but when the four rinks went out to play one final extra end each, unbelievably, the sides were still locked as both sides scored four shots and the game went into a second tie end across the green.
With just two Old Bleach bowls remaining, it looked as if the game might have gone into a third tie end as with two rinks off, Old Bleach had scored a four and lost a two but Dunbarton lay one on the two remaining rinks. Unfortunately a superb final delivery by the Old Bleach skip A Campbell ensured shot for his team, meaning that the final bowl on the last rink did not have to be played as Old Bleach had won the cup.
This was a horrible way to lose a cup final, however the locals should take great heart in how they played en route to the final and on the final itself. The atmosphere at the green was electric as the huge number of Gilford supporters, including the majority of the A team who had just won the league a few hours earlier, tried to inspire their clubmates to victory. However, it just wasn’t to be.
The locals have to now pick themselves up for their final league game away to Belmont Park this Tuesday night and if the Dunbarton team can pick up 1.5 points more than Ballymena (who host Castleton on the same night), the juniors will have a trophy to celebrate afterall.
This weekend the Dunbarton rink of Michael Higgins, Andy Hughes, DJ Wilson and Myles Greenfield will be aiming for glory when they play in the semi final, and hopefully final, of the Irish Fours at Old Bleach BC.
Standing in their way of a place in the final is the Ballymoney rink skipped by Alan Paul, a current Irish International. This will not be an easy task for the locals, however they will be buoyed by their recent Private Greens Fours success at Ulster Transport BC at the end of July.
On paper, the Dunbarton rink look to be a very strong quartet, however nothing is ever won on paper! The whole of the Gilford club would like to wish their team mates all the best this weekend and hope that one final trophy can be brought back to Gilford this season.