Bowls: Dunbarton ready for trophy assault with double cup final appearance

Ballymena trio Steven Shields, Graham Wilson and Andrew Morrison
Ballymena trio Steven Shields, Graham Wilson and Andrew Morrison

Dunbarton are primed to embrace a 48 hour period that will make or break their season!

They go into action tonight at Jordanstown in the final of the Private Greens League Senior Cup before they go head to head with rivals Ballymena in the showcase fixture of the season on Saturday - the Irish Bowling Association Senior Cup decider.

The IBA trophy is the one that every club wants and both sides have enjoyed a considerable amount of glory in recent years.

Since their breakthrough victory in 1970, Dunbarton have paraded the silverware on six occasions, while the Sky Blues had to wait until 2008 before they cracked open the champagne. They enjoyed it so much they repeated the feat two years later.

But first up for the Gilford boys is the PGL final against Willowfield.They will go into the game as hot favourites as they recently demolished the relegation threatened Belfast side in a league outing.

However, former international Myles Greeenfield insists his team will be totally focused on winning the game, regardless of the opposition.

“We treat every opponent with the same respect,” he said.

“Yes, we did defeat Willowfield over the past week or so, but this is a cup final. They’ll be up for it.

“But we must focus on what we need to do to win the game. We’ve only won the PGL Cup on two occasions (2004 and 2009), so it would be nice to do it again.”

Incredibly, Dunbarton are on course for a triple trophy haul. They moved to the top of the PGL Division One table in midweek following their excellent win at Pickie.

The win helped them overtake long time leaders Old Bleach.

“It’s a matter of taking one game at a time,” added Greenfield.

“We’ve two massive cup finals to deal with. After that, we’ll look at our remaining league games.”

As for Ballymena, it’s their only chance of lifting a trophy in a season that promised so much, but delivered so little.

Their league form has been dodgy, while they crashed out of the PGL Cup at an early stage.

They go into their biggest game of the season with a full squad which is a bonus. On their day, they are as good as any side in the country.

“It’s a one-off, so anything can happen,” said Ballymena’s Graham Wilson.

“But it’s a cup final. The biggest game of the season, so motivation will not be an issue.

“And, it’s the last chance saloon in terms of winning a trophy. Dunbarton have been the form team. They have produced a great finish to the campaign, so we’ll need to be at our best.”

Incidentally, the teams met in the 2002 cup final, with Dunbarton clocking up a 16 shots win on that occasion.

Meanwhile, Cookstown will look to regain the IBA Junior Cup trophy for the first time when the face Whitehead at Larne.

The East Antrim team will be aiming to lift the trophy for the first time.

Ballymena: Rink one: JR Nicholl, George Graham, Alistair Coleman, Steven Coleman. Rink two: Rod Coleman, Graham Wilson, Steven Falls, Nigel Robinson. Rink three: Steven Shields, Neal Garrett, Andrew Morrison, Andi Duncan. Rink four: James Gaston, Michael Wilson, Mark Torrington, Jim Baker.

Dunbarton: Rink one: Michael Higginsn Tony Belln Chris Muholland, Andy Hughes. Rink two: Chris Trainor, James Kelly, Gary McElroy, Myles Greenfield. Rink three: David Copeland, John Magennis, Michael Merritt, Marty Trainor. Rink four: Ryan McElroy, Jack Moffatt, Peter Convery, DJ Wilson.