Belfast’s Clifford Craig insists he has a massive act to follow in Saturday’s World singles qualifier at the County Antrim Indoor Bowls Club.
The big Belfast electrician produced a phenomenal performance at the same venue last year to book his spot at Potters Leisure Resort.
His victory ended 22 years off agony because his previous appearance on the world singles stage was back in 1989!
And, Craig returned to the famous blue portable rink with a certain degree of panache as defeated Scotland’s Darrren Burnett in his opening match before succumbing to Wales’ John Price in the second round.
Now Craig must do it all again -- he comes up against his Belfast colleague David Nixon in his opening match.
“Last season was a dream come true,” he said. “It was a wonderful experience to make it back to the world championships.
“But it was equally as tough getting there because I had to beat the likes of David Corkill, Simon Martin, Gary Kelly and Mark McPeak. I couldn’t have hand-picked a more difficult route.
“So, it will be the same again this time. I’m under no illusions, it will be a daunting job repeating last season’s win in the qualifier.”
There are a number of other appetising ties on offer tomorrow, with Kelly coming up against his international colleague Graham McKee, while former winner David Corkill will clash with Stephen Giibson.
Meanwhile, Roy Battersby and John McCullough will be hoping for a repeat performance in the world pairs play-off.
The Belfast boys tasted success 12 months ago, which culminated in a tense win over Alistair and Stephen Coleman senior.
Battersby and McCullough begin their defence on Sunday morning in what will be a tough assignment against Belfast’s Simon Jess and Andy Kyle (County Antrim).
World singles qualifier
D Atkinson (Unattached) v I McClure (Ballybrakes), C Craig (Belfast) v D Nixon (Belfast), S Jess (Belfast) v S Bennett (Belfast), G Kelly (Ballybrakes) v G McKee (Co Antrim), S Coleman sen (Co Antrim) v D Smith (Ballybrakes), J Watson (Belfast) v J Frazer (Belfast), D Corkill (Belfast) v S Gibson (Unattached), N Mulholland (Belfast) v N Gibson (Belfast), Chris Eadie (Belfast) v R Battersby (Belfast), Cliodhna Eadie (Belfast) v P Donneelly (Cliftonville), C Watson (Belfast) v A Kennedy (Ballybrakes), A Kyle (Co Antrim) v A Coleman (Co Antrim).
World pairs qualifier
J Frazer, N Gibson (Belfast) v A Coleman, S Coleman sen (Co Antrim), C Craig, N Mulholland (Belfast) v B Bird (Belfast), P Donnelly (Cliftonville), B Kane, A Kennedy (Ballybrakes) v M McKeown, C Watson (Belfast), R Battersby, J McCullough (Belfast) v S Jess (Belfast) A Kyle (Co Antrim), S Gibson (Unattached), S Martin (Belfast) v Cliodhna Eadie, D Nixon (Belfast), D Corkill, Chris Eadie (Belfast) v I McClure, D Smith (Ballybrakes), D Atkinson (Unattached), R Millar (Belfast) v G Kelly (Ballybrakes), G McKee (C Antrim).