MARK McPeak is back on the title trail in the AIIB Specsavers National Championships.
The Belfast player picked up the coveted singles crown for the first time 12 months ago – now his sights are firmly fixed on the pairs trophy.
McPeak and Stuart Bennett turned in an impressive performance at the Baker Stadium over the weekend to claim a semi final slot.
They will line out against County Antrim’s Trevor Robinson and Andy Kyle in the showcase event early in the New Year.
“It’s good to get the job done,” said McPeak. “We had two difficult games to reach the semis. We are delighted to be involved at this stage.”
McPeak and Bennett defeated their Watson Stadium colleagues, Simon Martin and Barry Quinn, 12-10 before turning on the power to defeat Derek Smith and Ian McClure (Provincial Towns) 15-8 to guarantee their spot in the last four.
Robinson and Kyle enjoyed a tie-end 16-15 win over the reigning champions, Michael Bickerstaff and David Corkill in their opening match.
And, they dispossessed Simon Colvin and Gary Kelly (Provincial Towns) with a certain degree of style in the quarter final, scoring a stunning 15-2 victory.
In the top half of the draw, County Antrim’s Darren Atkinson and Graham McKee started by beating Seamus Elliman and Paul McEwan (Belfast) 18-14, but the Pargate boys were forced to rely on all their powers of resistance to fend off the challenge of Stephen Falls and Nigel Robinson (Provincial Towns), before claiming a narrow 21-18 quarter final win.
They will now meet Rod Coleman and Michael Nutt in the semis.
Playing on their home carpet, Coleman and Nutt – deputising for Brendan Thompson – scored a narrow 17-15 success against Sammy Moore and Stanley Hegan in their first game.
The challenge of Aidan Reid and Harry Elliott (Provincial Towns) ended at the quarter final stage, with Nutt and Coleman claiming an impressive 18-9 victory.
Meanwhile, Irish team boss Jim Baker stepped in to replace Thompson in the Fours championship, also to great affect.
Baker teamed up with John Nicholl, Rod Coleman and Nutt to claim an impressive 23-11 quarter final win over the Belfast rink skipped by John Nutt.
Provincial pair Uel McKeeman and Gary McCloy will also feature in the last four at the Irish finals at Parkgate in early January, along with the Belfast rink skipped by Stephen Hedley, who was skipping in place of Clifford Craig.
The big Belfast electrician was in Hartlepool taking part in a pairs tournament, staged to mark the club’s 40th year celebrations.
AIIB Specsavers Fours: B Hoy, J Martin, M Leckey, P McVeigh (BIBC) v S Brewster, A Walker, T Mullan, U McKeeman (PTIBC) w/o, C Williams, M Kelly, M McCafferty, G McGleave (BIBC) v D Atkinson, S Coleman, A Coleman, S Coleman sen (CAIBC) w/o, P Daly, S McKinley, M Merritt, B Browne (BIBC) 9 G McKee, T Robinson, N Booth, A Kyle (CAIBC) 14, A Smith, J McGetterick, P Prunty, P McEwan (BIBC) 17 T Colvin, R Allen, S Colvin, G McCloy (PTIBC) 25, C Eadie, M McPeak, S Bennett, R Battersby (BIBC) w/o v G Padgett, R Hunter, N Beggs, K Padgett (CAIBC), S Falls, D Smith, N Robinson, I McClure (PTIBC) 11 M Bickerstaff, S Gibson, D Nixon, S Hedley (BIBC) 15, JR Nicholl, R Coleman, M Nutt, J Baker (CAIBC) w/o v D McElroy, G Moore, G McElroy, S Adamson (BIBC), J Kerr, B Daly, F Murdock, J Nutt (BIBC) w/o v A Reid, M Smyth, A Scott, J Martin (PTIBC).
Quarter final: McKeeman 11 Coleman 12, Kyle 12 McCloy 19, Battersby 9 Hedley 17, Baker 23 Nutt 11.
AIIB Specsavers Pairs: D Atkinson, G McKee (CAIBC) 18 S Elliman, P McEwan (BIBC) 14, M Martin, M McKeown (BIBC) 12 S Falls, N Robinson (PTIBC) 15, R Coleman, M Nutt (CAIBC) 17 S Moore, S Hegan (BIBC) 15, A Reid, H Elliott (PTIBC) 16 JR Nicholl, J Hodges (CAIBC) 14, M Bickerstaff, D Corkill 15 T Robinson, A Kyle (CAIBC) 16, S Gibson, B Browne (CAIBC) 11 S Colvin, G Kelly (PTIBC) 19, M McPeak, S Bennett (BIBC) 12 S Martin, B Quinn (BIBC) 10, D Nixon, S Hedley (BIBC) 8 D Smith, I McClure (PTIBC) 20.
Quarter finals: McKee 21 Falls 18, Nutt 18 Elliott 9, Kyle 15 Kelly 2, Bennett 15 McClure 8.