Dunbarton maintain winning record but victories are not without drama

Bowling for Dunbarton at the weekend.
Bowling for Dunbarton at the weekend.

The Dunbarton A team maintained their winning record last weekend with home wins in the league against Ulster Transport and Ewarts, but a last bowl point dropped against Ulster Transport could come back to haunt them.

Twenty-four hours after their clash with Ulster Transport, the Gilford Senior team were in action again and for the second game in a row they scored 99 shots winning impressively.

Most importantly however, the locals garnered all seven points to put the pressure on nearest rivals Belmont, before their game at home to Pickie this Tuesday night (1st).

Similarly to the day before the hosts won at a canter but there was final end drama yet again.

Thankfully the sting in the tail this time was for the visitors. Andy Hughes’ four trailed by two shots going into the final end and when the Ewarts skip turned in a wide bowl with his final delivery it looked as though their point might be gone.

However skip Andy produced a fine delivery to get in for a definite second shot and when the closest bowls were measured, Dunbarton had scored a crucial treble.

On the other three rinks it was much more plain sailing. Myles Greenfield’s four romped to a 22 shot win, while DJ Wilson’s four bounced back from their disappointment of the previous day to win by 14. Marty Trainor’s four wrapped up a fine afternoon’s work with a comfortable 12 shot success.

Dunbarton have one game remaining and are guaranteed to top the league going into the final round of fixtures. They currently sit 5.5 points clear of Larne but their biggest rivals are Belmont who sit in third place with a game in hand, 7.5 points behind. Their game in hand against Pickie will have a huge bearing on the destiny of the title as Dunbarton and Belmont have very differing final games. Dunbarton face a very difficult trip to Ballymena, the team they so dramatically defeated in the Irish cup final last weekend.

Whilst Belmont travel to bottom of the table Ards. If the Gilford side can lift all seven points, then they will win the league and complete a magnificent treble but this is a very tough ask. They will be hoping that Pickie take at least one point off Belmont before the last round of fixtures. An exciting finale awaits.

Rink 1 R McElroy, J Moffett, P Convery, Dj Wilson up 25-11  

After the heartache of the previous day, it was important that DJ’s men bounced back and showed the sort of form that they have displayed for the vast majority of the season. On their favourite rink, rink 1, they started well and never looked back. By the midpoint they led 9-5 as the away rink battled well but by the three quarter mark, their lead had been extended to double figures at 18-8. By the close, they had cruised home to a comfortable 14 shot success.

Rink 2 M Higgins, T Bell, C McCartan, A Hughes up 19-18
All the day’s drama was saved for this rink. Over the early stages, Andy’s men moved ahead but try as they could, they were unable to shake off their rivals. A 6-4 lead after the first quarter, was increased to 10-6 at the midpoint. After seventeen ends, the home lead was still just four shots at 14-10 but on ends 18-20, things looked to be going pear shaped. Scores of 3,2,1, were lost and suddenly Andy’s four were two behind and in grave danger of losing their point. The last end was neve wracking! Second Tony Bell produced a superb bowl to draw shot and when third Conor McCartan drew a second shot, things looked good. With only the skips to play, Dunbarton held two shots. A fortunate shot by the away skip secured second shot, only for Andy to draw closer to lie a double. Then the Ewarts skip was too wide with his last bowl, but hit an away bowl into the head and possibly second shot. Skip Andy then produced another fine delivery to secure a definite second shot and when the head was measured, the locals had somehow lifted three shots. A vital point for the hosts!

Rink 3 C Trainor, J Kelly, G McElroy, M Greenfield up 32-10
Myles’ rink had a much more serene afternoon as they started with a bang and never looked back. After five ends they led 7-1 and by the halfway mark this had been extended to 14-3. With all four bowlers in fine fettle, they continued to dominate and by the three quarters mark they now led by nineteen shots, 24-5. After the allotted 21 ends, the hosts had stormed to a 22 shot win.

Rink 4 D Copeland, J Magennis, M Merritt, M Trainor up 23-11  
Over the opening exchanges there was little to separate the sides as five singles were scored with Marty ahead 3-2. A superb count of five on end six moved the hosts clear and by the midpoint their lead was extended to 11-3. After fifteen ends, their advantage was now ten shots at 15-5 and over the final few ends they eased to a facile 12 shot victory.

This weekend sees the Irish Championship Finals being played at Coleraine Bowling Club and Dunbarton will be represented in the Open Singles when Pete Convery aims to be come the club’s third ever Irish Singles Champion.

Following in the footsteps of Stevie Adamson and Myles Greenfield, the Dunbarton star will take on Ballymoney’s Nicky McCaw for a place in the final. This game starts at 2pm on Friday (4th) and should the home bowler emerge victorious, he will in all likelihood take on 4 times Irish Singles Champion Marty McHugh from Whitehead in the final.

With so much success for the club over recent weeks, it would be wonderful if Pete could go all the way and win the much coveted Irish Singles crown. All of the Dunbarton club would like to wish Pete “all the best”.