David Corkill turns back the clock with International Open qualifier success

Belfast man David Corkill
Belfast man David Corkill

David Corkill rolled back the years by winning the Professional Bowlers’ Association International Open qualifier at the Watson Stadium on Sunday night.

The Belfast player demonstrated he could still ‘mix it’ with the best in an event that attracts the cream of British bowlers.

Corkill defeated his club colleague Mark McPeak an an epic final to book his place in next season’s International Open at Blackpool.

Even though Corkill is now recognised as the voice of bowls on television - he is the BBC’s number one commentator and analyst on all major tournaments - the County Down man remains a leading light on the green.

And he achieved his latest success using a set off new bowls provided by Drakes Pride.

“I’m thrilled with the victory,” said Corkill. “I really enjoy these qualifiers, but it’s a few years since my last win.

“I was sent a new set of Drakes Pride XP bowls for the tournament, so it worked out well. They are designed more for the outdoor game, but they played really well on our carpet. I like a big swinging bowl and the accuracy and consistency was top drawer.

“The win also guarantees me a place in next month’s Tour Card play-off. The top two in that tournament earns a place in the three World Bowls Tour ranking events, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Corkill certainly took the difficult route to his latest success. Even though he was given a first round bye due to the non-availability of Clontarf’s David Kenny, he was drawn against his international team mate Ian McClure in the next phase.

But after winning the opening set 7-5, Corkill completed the job by roaring home in the second, winning 7-3.

Scotland’s Sandy Wotherspoon was next to buckle under the Corkill surge. He won in straight sets to book an outing against Stuart Bennett in the semi finals.

Bennett lost the opener 6-3, but hit back to level matters (9-6) before losing 2-0 in the tie break.

In the other half of the draw, McPeak ended the challenge of Jim Frazer, Alistair Coleman and John McCullough to forge his way into the decider.

It was Corkill who draw first blood by winning the opening set 6-3. McPeak, who has previously tastes success in this event, got back on terms, winning 7-2.

The tie-break developed into an intriguing affair, with Corkill conjuring up a winner on the third end.