Dunbarton Bowling Club are within touching distance of the treble after the one of the most exciting ever Irish Cup finals.
The Gilford team secured their seventh Irish Senior Cup success in the most thrilling of fashions, overcoming a 26 shot deficit at the three quarter stage to defeat old rivals Ballymena.
And bowler Myles Greenfield caught the moment the Lazarus-style success was confirmed on camera!
It added to their Private Greens Cup success, which they secured with a routine win over Willowfield on Thursday.
And as if that isn’t enough, they now have the league title in their own hands after another comeback success at Larne last Tuesday.
For all the pictures, reports and reaction to those two Cup wins, make sure you see this week’s LEADER sport.
Or keep reading for all the details of that vital league win last Tuesday.
LARNE A 72 (1PT)
DUNBARTON A 86 (6PTS)
The Dunbarton A team produced one of their best performances of the season last Tuesday night when they overturned title rivals Larne on their own green in the league.
Not only did they gain a vital six points in their quest for retaining Senior Division One but they moved top of the table for the first time this season, overtaking long time leaders Old Bleach by four points with just three games remaining.
And what made this victory even more special was the fact that for the first half of this game there only looked like there was going to be one winner and that was not the men in the yellow and black colours.
With their rivals having raced into a 20 shot lead at halfway, the Dunbarton bowlers had to dig deep to bounce back and keep their league title dreams alive. Sure enough, all four rinks moved up through the gears during the second half and showed their experience of playing big bowls in the big games. Indeed, only for a superb last bowl by the Larne skip on rink three, the Gilford men would have scored at least 6.5 if not 7 points from a game that they looked like they would only get one point over the first half!
Leading the way throughout was the rink skipped by Andy Hughes who started well and never looked back. Whilst all of the other three away rinks were struggling early on, Andy’s men kept their noses in front and kept their team mates in the game, eventually winning by a well deserved nine shots. DJ Wilson’s rink didn’t hit the heights of their previous three games but probably took as much pleasure from this game as they did the previous three as they turned a six shot halfway deficit to Irish International skip A Kyle into a fine six shot win. Meanwhile on rink one Marty Trainor’s rink yet again showed their character as despite a poor start, managed to turn round a ten shot deficit at twelve ends into a terrific three shot success. And whilst Myles Greenfield’s men were unable to make it a full house, they showed tremendous fighting spirit to bounce back from a 20-9 deficit to just trail by three shots going into the last end and nearly got a treble for a half point.
This was a performance full of guts and determination and this win could possibly be the win that puts one hand on that much coveted Senior Division One trophy.
Rink 1 D Copeland, J Magennis, M Merritt, M Trainor up 18-15
Not for the first time this season, Marty’s men were slow out of the traps and after seven ends trailed 0-9. Albeit most observers would confirm that the Gilford rink were extremely unlucky to be trailing by nine shots. By end twelve, the hosts were still in control at 3-13 but suddenly the fightback began. Two successive trebles on ends 13 and 14 narrowed the deficit to four shots and despite the loss of singles on the next two ends, the Gilford men then went into overdrive, winning all of the last five ends with scores of 4,1,1,1,2 to record a tremendous three shot victory. A huge point for the team.
Rink 2 M Higgins, M Adamson, C Mulholland, A Hughes up 24-15
Skip Andy and his rink were the only Dunbarton quartet to start quickly and adapt to the Larne green. After five ends they led 7-4 and by the midpoint they had extended this advantage to seven shots, 14-7. With the other three rinks now fighting back strongly it was imperative that Andy’s rink kept their noses in front. Sure enough over the second half, the locals matched the hosts and with their lead still at seven shots going into the last end, wrapped up a vitally important nine shot success with a double. A confident performance by Andy’s men.
Rink 3 C Trainor, J Kelly, G McElroy, M Greenfield down 20-24
Similarly to rink one Myles and his front three found themselves trailing by nine shots at the midpoint and again felt very hard done by due to some very unfortunate results. By end 14, the home lead had increased to eleven shots at 9-20 but then the Gilford men began to dominate. Two trebles on ends 13 and 16 and two counts of four on ends 15 and 18 saw the men in yellow narrow their deficit to just one shot with three ends remaining. Not only did this give them a great chance of of winning their point, but in the overall match context, this was a crucial comeback. Singles were conceded on ends 19 and 20 to leave the locals behind by three shots but thanks to two superb bowls by third Gary McElroy, suddenly Dunbarton lay three shots with just two bowls remaining. However credit must go to the Larne skip who drove the head and sprung the jack off the side of the rink. When the end was replayed skip Myles had a chance with his last bowl to turn the jack for a treble and watched in agony as his bowl just missed the jack and a four shot reverse resulted. Nonetheless, a very important comeback for the team.
Rink 4 R McElroy, J Moffett, P Convery, DJ Wilson up 24-18
After the heroics of the previous three games, DJ’s men knew they were in for a right battle when they drew on paper Larne’s top rink skipped by Irish International skip A Kyle. Over the early stages, it was the hosts that started the brighter and by the midpoint had opened up a six shot lead, 7-13. On the following end, up stepped Irish International DJ to turn out the closest Larne bowl for a count of five and suddenly the visitors were back in it. From ends 11-19 there was little to separate the sides as ten shots were shared but there was no doubt that the Gilford rink were the four in form as twice the hosts had to rely on some extremely good fortune to score shots. Unperturbed by their misfortune, DJ’s rink battled hard and inspired by a brilliant second half performance by young lead Ryan McElroy produced a great finish to scores counts of four and three for a six shot victory. This was a massive point for the visitors, especially as for some reason Dj’s men were finished four ends quicker than the other three rinks.