Big league and cup games ahead for Dunbarton

DJ Wilson's rink will be looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season. Picture by Brian Thompson/Presseye
DJ Wilson's rink will be looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season. Picture by Brian Thompson/Presseye
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There’s another busy weekend in store for Dunbarton.

It begins when they travel to Pickie on Thursday with a place in the NIPGL Senior Cup semi-final at stake.

On Saturday afternoon, the league enters the second half of the season when the fixtures are reversed. For Dunbarton, a home game against Old Bleach awaits.

Then on Monday evening, June 27, a big test awaits when Ballymena are the visitors to Gilford. With both sides sitting first and second in the league and huge history between the clubs over the years, this game is one of the biggest on the bowls calendar. Dunbarton will hope to make home advantage count in the fixture and maintain their lead at the top of Division One.

The Gilford men should go into those games full of confidence - not least Thursday’s tie at Pickie.

That’s because they’re fresh off the back of a 27 shot victory at the same ground last Saturday.

PICKIE 67

DUNBARTON 94

Dunbarton claimed another fantastic five points on Saturday with a 27 shot victory over Pickie.

The Gilford men smashed a 67-94 win in what was their second visit to the Bangor venue in the space of one week, having recently triumphed over their B team in the NIPGL Senior Cup.

And they face one final trip to Broadway on Thursday evening, when they face Pickie A team again, in the quarter-finals of the NIPGL Senior Cup.

On rink one for Dunbarton, David Copeland, Jack Moffett, Peter Convery and DJ Wilson will be hugely disappointed to have suffered their first defeat of the season, 26-23.

Against skip Don Mills, the Gilford men looked set for another victory. Lying six shots in the first end, Mills saved the Pickie four and the Dunbarton men had to settle for a count of three.

Counts of 2,3 on ends three and four seen Wilson’s rink 3-8 ahead playing the fifth end and when lying another count of five shots, Mills again came to the rescue of the Bangor side, trailing the jack for four shots.

This was a big turning point so early in the game as by ten ends Wilson trailed 16-10 and by 15 ends remained 23-10 adrift. One thing evident of this Dunbarton rink is they will battle right to the last bowl.

Counts of 5,2,1 across 18 to 20 and they were playing the last end 26-22 behind, and were within three bowls of claiming a stunning victory.

With only the skips to play and Dunbarton lying three shots, Wilson drew a forth and were set for half a point. But Mills again saved his rink with the next delivery arriving into the head to get second shot and with that the chance of victory was gone.

Rink two’s match up of Sean, Kieran and Marty Trainor alongside Alan Paul at third had a lively start against skip Marty Caughey. The Bangor four were up for the occasion and scored 3, 1 in the first two ends.

Trainor hit back immediately when he removed the closest Pickie bowl for a count of five in the third. After that, it was one way traffic for the in-form Dunbarton rink and by 15 ends found themselves 9-23 in front. They eventually ran out 12-32 winners.

Chris Trainor, Michael Merritt, Gary McElroy and Conor McCartan on rink three came up against Pickie skip Peter Campbell. The Dunbarton four turned in an impressive performance leading from start to finish.

Helped by a count of four on end four, they were 3-6 in front at end five and by end 10, it was 5-16. They maintained that lead throughout and with a count of three on the last end finished 12-24 winners.

Rink four at Pickie has proved to be somewhat of a banker for Dunbarton on recent visits. James Kelly, Tony Bell, Andy Hughes and Myles Greenfield were the rink hoping to continue that impressive run against Neil Belch.

This game was full of high quality and Greenfield’s rink could wonder how they were 7-1 behind at the fifth end. They soon cut into that deficit and by the tenth end trailed 11-8.

With two ends to play, they managed to get back to 15-15. Despite dropping one shot (16-15) they lay four shots in the last end only for third Alex Lightbody to burn the head and the end had to be replayed.

Again with close bowl,s the shots changed hands on a few occasions, but when all had finished, it was Pickie who claimed the shot and their second point with a 17-15 win.

This week, Dunbarton have a busy schedule when they travel to Pickie again on Thursday, this time with a place in the NIPGL Senior Cup semi-final at stake.

On Saturday afternoon, the league enters the second half of the season when the fixtures are reversed. For Dunbarton, a home game against Old Bleach awaits.

Then on Monday evening, June 27, a big test awaits when Ballymena are the visitors to Gilford. With both sides sitting first and second in the league and huge history between the clubs over the years, this game is one of the biggest on the bowls calendar. Dunbarton will hope to make home advantage count in the fixture and maintain their lead at the top of Division One.