Apologies for the use of all capitals in the post heading but it definitely merits it.
This afternoon the Ireland team, pictured above, finished off an absolutely astounding weekend of International bowls.
First opponents on Saturday morning were current Champions Wales. All six rinks finished up for a total win by 137 to 99 shots. An excellent performance right across the green especially from the three new caps, Cameron Gaw, Matthew Hastings and Jack Moffett all U25 team members who were making the big step up to the full Ireland International team.
Next on Saturday afternoon was England. They result was the same with a magnificent 133-112 win with three rinks up. So after the first full day Ireland were tied with Scotland on two wins each. Scotland had beaten England and Wales by 59 and 53 shots respectively. So all was set up for a winners takes all game on Sunday morning. The Ireland team had to change greens to the green Scotland, as host nation, had elected to use for all three of their games. Many were saying this was the best Scotland team in recent years and were strong favourites to win.
As feared Scotland started well and were leading after 5 ends by 36-22, which they increased to 71-49 by 10 ends. At 12 ends the score was 80-55 in favour of Scotland. The game was looking like it was going as the pundits had predicted with Scotland winning on home soil. Then the magic started. On the 13th end Ireland scored 18 shots without reply across the green and with a 15-2 win on the 16th end moved into a 6 shot lead for the first time in the game. It was nip and tuck for the rest of the game with it all depending on the last end of the match. Skip David Burnett, who recently won the Gold medal in the Singles at the Atlantic Rim Tournament, and his rink against Ireland stalwart and captain Ian McClure and his rink. Ireland lead overall by two shots. Scotland needed two shots to win the title while second shot was good enough for an Ireland win. With the skips to play the outcome was still uncertain. Ian McClure played what looked like the perfect running bowl with possibly two shots against him only to cruelly see the jack move to the back of the rink with Scotland lying one shot. The Scottish skip tried to draw the required second shot. His bowled looked on course but unfortunately for Scotland he was slightly too heavy and caught his own bowl. It looked like it may stay and leave Scotland lying the required two shots only for the bowl to drop into the ditch and Ireland had one by one shot.
Ireland had won the British Isles International series for the first time since 2009 in Belfast.
Ian McClure(Captain) after receiving the winners trophy.
Congratulations to all the players and to Team Manager Neil Booth and Asst. manager Tommy Smith. Role on next year in Wales when we get to do it all over again.
Ian McClure(Captain), David McCloy(IBA President), John Millar IBA Sec.) Neil Booth(Manager)
Thanks to Brian Downie (Troon BC) for the photos.