Ian McClure shakes off jet lag to book National Fours semi-final place

editorial image

editorial image

  • by Alex Mills

Ian McClure shook off any lingering jet lag to book a place in the semi final of the AIIB National Fours at the Watson Stadium.

The Portrush man only returned home on Saturday from New Zealand after competing in the prestigious World Champion of Champions singles.

McClure just missed out on the medals as he finished in fourth place in his group which deprived him a spot in the knockout quarter finals.

But he put that disappointment behind him by claiming his place in the last four of the Irish National Fours, along with his Ballybrakes Community Club team mates, Stephen Falls, Nigel Robinson and Derek Smith.

They will now face Belfast’s Alan Smyth, Jim McGetterick, Paul Prunty and Paul McEwan on January 10.

“I hadn’t much time to recover from the long trip home,” said McClure.

“We had a couple of really tough games, but it’s great to get through to the semi finals.

“We (Falls and Smith) are also through to the triples semis, so we could be in for a busy time next month.”

The Ballybrakes boys emerged from a tough opening outing against Belfast’s Chris Eadie, Terry Crawford, David Nixon and Mike Merritt, eventually claiming a 12-8 success.

They were again pushed to the wire by another Belfast side, skipped by Alan Roberts, in the quarter finals. McClure guaranteed his involvement in the semis courtesy of a 15-11 victory.

There is an all-County Antrim affair in the other tie, featuring the rinks skipped by Jim Baker and Andy Kyle.

Stephen Shields, Neil Booth, Graham McKee and Kyle had to be at their best in their opening outing to see off the challenge of Belfast’s Stephen Gibson, Stephen Hedley, Neil Mulholland and Clifford Craig -- the Parkgate side winning 14-9.

They then received an unexpected boost at the quarter finals stage as Paul McVeigh’s Belfast rink was forced to withdraw due to the unavailability of a member of his rink – he had already used a replacement.

Baker was joined by John Nicholl, Rod Coleman and Michael Nutt. They received a walk-over to the quarter finals as Barry Kane’s Ballybrakes side pulled out. The County Antrim combination, who were beaten by Gary McCloy in last season’s fours final, then produced an impressive performance to defeat Mark McPeak, John McCullough, Stuart Bennett and Simon Martin (Belfast) 12-5.




Back to the top of the page