The semi-final of the Senior Private Greens Cup was expected to be a classic as reigning league champions Dunbarton opposed this year’s surprise package and current league leaders Larne.
Whilst some observers would have made Larne favourites due to their current form, the Gilford men knew they had the armoury and experience to win this game and book a place in the final, provided they showed the form they were capable of.
As it turned out, the locals were in fine fettle, leading from start to finish and despite a strong fightback in the middle third of the game from their opponents, in truth there was only ever one winner of this semi final.
By the close, the locals had stormed home by 28 shots, two rinks well ahead and two finishing level.
Leading the way was the rink, containing the recent British Isles Triples Champions Michael Higgins, Tony Bell and Andy Hughes who gave skip Myles Greenfield an armchair ride for 21 ends.
Not only did they chalk up a fine 17 shot success, but importantly they got their team off to a flyer leading 15-0 after just three ends.
And Myles’ men were ably supported by DJ Wilson’s four who led throughout against their rivals but finished in style scoring 9 unanswered shots over the final four ends for a fine 11 shot success.
The other two Dunbarton rinks also played their part in a fine overall team performance. Conor McCartan’s four had a titanic battle throughout, chalking up a last end double to earn a fully deserved draw, while Marty Trainor and his front three sportingly conceded two shots to their rivals without playing the last end so that their game also finished even.
This was a terrific team performance and when the Gilford men play with the sort of skill and confidence that they showed in this semi final they are a very difficult team to beat.
Surprisingly the locals will take on Willowfield in the final at Ulster Transport BC on 20th August. The men from East Belfast were underdogs in their semi final against a Pickie team that, similarly to Larne, has been flying high this season.
So it was somewhat of a surprise that Willowfield defeated their Bangor rivals by eight shots to set up a final with Dunbarton.
No doubt the Gilford men will go into this game as firm favourites, however there will be no complacency in the Dunbarton camp as anything can happen in the game of bowls.
Rink 1 R McElroy, J Moffatt, P Convery, DJ Wilson up 23-12
Rink 2 C Trainor, C Mulholland, G McElroy, C McCartan 21-21
Rink 3 M Higgins, T Bell, A Hughes, M Greenfield up 33-16
Rink 4 D Copeland, J Magennis, M Merritt, M Trainor 17-17