Column McHugh walks clinches singles title at Baker Stadium

Colm McHugh, (right) with Jim Pinkerton
Colm McHugh, (right) with Jim Pinkerton

Mid Ulster’s Colum McHugh walked off with the top prize in the Irish Short Mat Tour’s singles championship at the Baker Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Cookstown Parochial man emerged from a massive entry of 256 participants to scoop the £500 top prize. He defeated Limavady’s Brian Ranking in the final.

It was the second ‘Tour’ event of the season and it was again deemed an ‘outstanding success’ by the organisers.

“We were over subscribed every night,” said Seamus Kyne.

“The opening event caught the imagination of local short mat bowlers. Sean Trainor won that tournament at Cookstown.

“If anything this was even better. The cream of the country’s short mat bowlers were on sho. When the tournament was reduced to the last 64 group winners on Tuesday there were some fantastic games.

“There is an eight man committee that organises the Tour, so we are planning to do it again next season. In fact, we will be hoping to expand.”

Jim Dixon, Adrain McCaw, Jim Teague, Kevin Conroy, Gerry McCabe, Raymond Stubbs, Andy Duncan and David Beattie all forged through to the latter stages, but lost out at the quarter final stage.

Damien McAllister, Mark Beattie, Scott Jess and Pat Garvey jnr received £75 vouchers for their efforts; they were beaten in the quarter finals .

In the semi finals, Colum McHugh just edged past the challenge of Arron O’Keefe, while Brian Rankin defeated Michael Beattie, both losers pocketed £150.

There was just no stopping McHugh in the final. The Cookstown man got off to a great start and literally never looked back, he went on to rack up an 8-3 victory. The consolation for his opponent was the fact he was presented with a £300 voucher.