Even though Cecil Dillon currently tops the Short Mat Players’ Tour ratings, he could still be pipped at the post in the final event in the final ranking tournament of the season -- the World Masters staged at the Watson Stadium in April.
The West Down man has built up an impressive 106 points lead over Belgium’s Dimitri Payne and 110 over his Northern Ireland colleague Joe Beattie, but both are still in with a shout.
SMPT director, Phil Mills explains: “There are a maximum of 120 points forthe winner of the World Masters.
“If Cecil qualifies from his group in first or second place he is guaranteed the number one spot in the rankings.
“In theory, both Payne and Beattie could still finish top if they win the tournament, but Cecil would need to be eliminated in his group (by finishing third or lower).
“There are no ranking points available from the plate and wooden spoon knockout rounds - only the main competition.”
The odds are that Dillon, who recently won the English Master to harden his challenge, will do enough to remain in top spot that will earn him the Henselite Order of Merit Trophy and £250.
Mills, meanwhile, added he is thrilled with the response to the World Masters, which is already practically sold out.
“We have a few places available, due to withdrawals, but the interest has been brilliant,” he said. “Believe it or not, we’ll have four players coming over from the United Arab Emirates.
“They will be making the 7000 mile round trip from the Middle East to Northern Ireland and in doing will become the first short mat bowlers to represent their country in the international arena.
“The United Arab Emirates will be the 14th nation to compete in a Short Mat Players Tour event.”