The Dunbarton A team lost their unbeaten record last Wednesday, when they travelled to league leaders Old Bleach in Randalstown.
Having lost to the hosts in the final of the Irish Senior Cup at the end of last season, the locals knew they were in for a tough battle, especially as their opponents had begun the season with a bang.
Although the locals lost, there was not too much disappointment in the camp as the Gilford men fought like Trojans to win on three of the rinks.
DJ Wilson’s four led the way with a superb seven shot victory, while Marty Trainor’s men scraped a one shot win, thanks to two magnificent final bowls by skip Marty.
Myles Greenfield’s four were all square going into the last end and it was third Andy Hughes who played the pressure bowl, resulting in a count of three shots.
Unfortunately for Dunbarton, Conor McCartan and his front three had a night to forget as they ran into a host foursome that were simply outstanding. Try as they could, they were unable to stem the tide and slumped to a 23 shot reverse. Nonetheless, three points away to Old Bleach was a decent result for the locals and should give the Gilford bowlers plenty of confidence for the remainder of the season.
Rink 1 M Higgins, J Magennis, M Merritt, M Trainor up 21-20
Skip Marty and his rink got off to bad start trailing 3-8 after five ends but turned this around and led by a shot at the midpoint, 11-10.
With two ends remaining, the game was all square. On the penultimate end it looked as though the away rink had lost their point when an excellent final delivery by the home skip resulted in a treble.
However, this Gilford rink do not know when they are beaten and on the final end, produced a terrific finale. With just the skips to play, the locals lay two shots and again winning their point looked unlikely when the home skip drew shot.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and that man was skip Marty. With his first bowl, he turned out the home bowl to lie three shots and then for good measure, with his final bowl, he drew in for a fourth shot resulting in a tremendous one shot success.
Rink 2 D Copeland, R McElroy, A Hughes, M Greenfield up 20-17
Myles’ four started brightly and held a 7-5 advantage after five ends.
With four ends remaining, the locals still held a four shot lead, 17-13. Although in pole position for their point, this soon changed due to the loss of 1,2,1 and suddenly it was even stevens going into the last end.
Young second Ryan McElroy was extremely unlucky to ‘half the jack’ with both of his bowls but third Andy Hughes then stepped up to the plate and with a magnificent delivery turned the jack to lie three shots. When the final two Old Bleach bowls sailed past the head, the Gilford men had won an epic encounter.
Rink 3 C Trainor, G Moore, G McElroy, C McCartan down 13-36
So far this season, Conor’s men have looked very solid but they had a night to forget.
Over the first six ends the visitors got off to the worst possible start dropping scores of 2,4,2,3,2,2 to trail 0-15. Time and time again, the locals tried to bounce back but by the close the away rink had fallen to a very heavy 23 shot reverse.
Rink 4 J Moffatt, C Mulholland, P Convery, DJ Wilson up 19-12
DJ’s four bounced back from a poor performance to produce a fine effort in Randalstown.
Over the first half, there was little to separate the teams and at 10 ends it was the hosts who had their noses in front at 6-10.
However, inspired by a tremendous display of lead bowling by Jack Moffatt, the away rink took control. From ends 11-21 the locals outscored their rivals 13-2 and by the close had registered an excellent seven shot victory.