Dunbarton drive out old demons with a big win at Jordanstown

Adam Topping took no chances - heading off to France on his own five days early. Photo: Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com
Adam Topping took no chances - heading off to France on his own five days early. Photo: Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com

Dunbarton returned to the scene of where it all went wrong for them in their 2015 league campaign on Saturday.

They travelled to Jordanstown to face league strugglers Ulster Transport.

Last year, the same opponents smashed any hopes Dunbarton had of winning the league that year with a 6-1 points success.

Little did the Dunbarton men know what was about to unfold in the aftermath of that defeat, as they went on an unbeaten run that saw them win the NIPGL Senior Cup, Irish Senior Cup, Alwood Shield and finish runners up in the league.

Only Ballymena inflicted another defeat on the Gilford side in their final game of the season.

One year on, memory of that defeat was still firmly in the player’s minds. This year though, they were able to reverse that result, as they won 6-1 in points and by 20 shots (63-83).

The result means Dunbarton are now five points clear of second placed Ballymena at the top of NIPGL Division One. Current champions are just 1.5 points further adrift.

This game was firmly in the balance until 15 ends, when Dunbarton found that extra gear and pulled away from their opponents.

On rink one, Dunbarton’s in form rink of David Copeland, Jack Moffett, Peter Convery and DJ Wilson continued on from where they left off against Mossley as they lead the charge for the side with a 13-25 win over skip David McCartney.

In the early stages, despite their dominance, the score line did not reflect this as at five ends the lead by the narrowest of margins (4-5). A count of four on end eight helped extend the lead to 8-11 by ten ends and it was from here on that Wilson’s men finally made their play count, losing only five shots over the second half of the game and scoring fourteen.

Rink two turned out to be a superb game that could easily have went either way. Sean, Kieran and Marty Trainor, along with Alan Paul at third where in a battle throughout against skip Mark Devlin.

Devlin has a history of gaining points for his side against the big clubs, including Dunbarton and on Saturday he was almost adding to it again.

At end five the scores were locked at 4-4, but a count of four shots on end seven saw Devlin edge his rink in front 9-6 by the tenth end. The Dunbarton men when not to be outdone and with their own count of four shots on the 14th end went back in front 13-15. However, playing the final end of the game, the Dunbarton rink trailed 18-17 and when the opposition lead drew a front toucher with his bowl, things looked bad for a rink win for Trainor. Immediately Sean Trainor made contact with the lying bowl to make the jack visible again.

The head did not change until Alan Paul stepped up with his bowl and ditched the jack for them to lie two shots. Devlin was unable make any change with his two bowls and with Martin Trainor adding another shot, they claimed a vital point with a 17-20 win.

Michael Higgins, Chris Mulholland, Gary McElroy and Conor McCartan on rink three played skip Billy May. In another game that counts of four shots where important, McCartan’s rink where first to land that count on end two and that seen them lead 4-6 by the fifth end.

A second count of four on end ten helped them into a 7-11 advantage, but immediately in the next end conceded five shots. That was to prove to be the final time McCartan’s rink held the lead as the Transport rink where able to hold on for single shots on five different ends. The final score 19-16 in favour of the home side.

On rink four, Dunbarton’s James Kelly, Michael Merritt, Myles Greenfield and Andy Hughes started slowly and found themselves 6-1 adrift by the fifth end. Counts of two shots of ends six, eight, ten and eleven saw them overturn that deficit to lead 8-9 and with the momentum, a count of five on end 12 and Hughes’ rink where firmly in control. Further consecutive counts of two shots on ends 17, 18 and 19 had them across the line with a 13-22 victory.

A few big weeks now lie ahead for the Gilford side before the July holidays. They face five big league games, with away fixtures at Pickie and Larne, while they will hope to make home advantage count against Old Bleach, Ballymena and Belmont.