The Dunbarton trio of David Copeland, Conor McCartan and DJ Wilson suffered last bowl heartache at the British Isles Triples Championship last week in Leamington Spa.
The locals were hoping to be the first ever Dunbarton bowlers to bring home a British Isles Title to Gilford and knew they were in for a tough battle against the Scottish Champions, skipped by seasoned international Wayne Hogg.
However, it was the Scottish trio that started brightly and the Gilford men trailed 1-6 after just four ends. Three ends later the scoreline read 3-8 and then the locals endured a horrible piece of luck. Lying one shot with one bowl remaining, the Gilford men managed to lose a double when their opposition skip’s off target drive managed to flick not one but two bowls across the head for two shots. Trailing 3-10 after eight ends and the locals were in trouble.
One thing for certain about DJ and his front two is that they never give up and whilst things weren’t going their way, they continued to battle hard. Doubles on ends 9,11 and 14 reduced the deficit to 10-13 and the comeback was on. The following four ends proved to be dramatic!
On end 15, Scotland lay five shots with just one bowl left for each skip. Dunbarton bowler DJ held his nerve to produce a superb delivery to trail the jack, only to look in dismay when the jack stopped beside the only Scottish bowl behind the head. And to make matters worse, Hogg then drew another shot and the score now read 10-15. End 16 looked as though it could be pivotal as both David Copeland and Conor McCartan produced six tremendous deliveries and the locals lay five shots with just the skips to play.
Unfortunately they were on the end of a rather unlucky result as the home skip found a gap between a number of short bowls to spring the jack to reduce the deficit to one shot. DJ then responded with his second bowl to take out the Scottish second shot to lie a count of four, only for the Hogg to produce yet another superb delivery and draw shot with his last bowl. Even more importantly, his bowl was hidden behind a short bowl and DJ was unable to remove it and the arrears now stood at 10-16.
On end 17, second Conor produced a magnificent second delivery to trail the jack and at one stage the locals lay four shots, only for this to be cut to two shots. Neither skip could change the head and the Gilford bowlers counted a double and were four shots adrift going into the last end.
On a full length head, Dunbarton lead David Copeland produced three fabulous deliveries and suddenly confidence rose. Second Conor continued to add and when his opposite number drew shot with his second bowl, Conor turned the bowl out and suddenly the Irish lads believed they had a chance. With the skips to play, the Dunbarton boys lay three shots and with just one bowl each remaining, if DJ could draw a fourth shot, the pressure on Hogg would be enormous. Sure enough, the Irish International held his nerve to draw inside a foot of the jack and they held four shots, enough to take the game to a tie end.
As the final bowl of the game was delivered, the locals could barely look. As the bowl neared the jack, it looked to be very close to a short Irish stickered bowl and any connection would have resulted in a count of five shots and an amazing victory. Unfortunately, the Scottish bowl was carrying a yard of weight and slipped by the Dunbarton bowl and trailed the jack to the back of the rink and a count of three shots.
An agonising defeat, and it was no surprise that the Scottish triple lifted the title.