Clifford Craig rashed out of the Fred.Olsen Lines World Indoor Bowls singles championship at Potters Leisure Resort on Monday.
The big Belfast electrician was beaten in straight sets by former title holder John Price, but he pushed the Welshman right to the wire.
Craig turned in a sensational first round performance, defeating Scotland’s Darren Burnett, who is seeded four on the World Bowls Tour, without dropping a set.
However, he failed the reach that level performance against cagey Price, who will now face the winner of the Alex Marshall versus David Gourlay game – they clash on Tuesday.
“I’m disappointed,” reflected Craig. “It was always going to be difficult to repeat last week’s display against Darren. I had a game plan to play attacking bowls and it worked.
“It just didn’t happen for me this time. I made a shaky start in the opening set against John, but managed to claw my way back into it. I needed a two on the last end to tie, but ultimately lost a single.
“The second followed a similar pattern. But John has played on this rink on many occasions – he knows how to win. Good luck to him.
“Although it was disappointing to go out, I really enjoyed playing at Potters.”
Craig found himself 4-0 in arrears after only two ends. He registered his first shot on the third, but then dropped a two and a single.
He replied with successive single shot winning ends and a two. But any hopes of tieing the set evaporated when Price, he world No 16, rolled in a winner on the ninth end.
The Welsh international opened with second with a single before Craig levelled. The Belfast man literally lost the game over the next three ends when he conceded six shots to trail 6-1.
However, he again displayed his battling qualities with a two and a single. Price regained his composure to pick up a single on the last two ends to guarantee his involvement in the quarter finals on January 25.
Meanwhile, Alex Marshall and Paul Foster wrote themselves into the record books by becoming the first combination to win the World pairs title on three successive occasions.
The international duo defeated their Scotland colleagues Darren Burnett and Stewart Anderson 2-1 on a tie-break following an epic encounter.
Marshall and Foster won the opening set 9-7, but lost the second 7-8 to force the game into a tie-break sitation.