Gary Kelly fired up for final bid to secure second British title

Ireland's Gary Kelly
Ireland's Gary Kelly

Ireland’s Gary Kelly hopes to turn back the clock in the British Isles Under-25 Singles Championship for the last time at Stanley Bowls Club on Monday.

The Ballybrakes Community Club man has been handed a semi final berth and awaits the winner of the preliminary round tie featuring Liam Bouse, from Wales, and England’s Wayne Ditchfield.

Kelly was the last Irish player to win the title back in 2004. He would relish the prospect of repeating the feat in this, his final appearance at this level.

“It would be nice to go out with a victory,” said the Ballymoney international. “It’s amazing to think my last win was 10 years ago. I’ve managed to avoid the prelims, so I’ll not know my semi final opponent until just before the game, but it will be tough, there is no question about that. I’ll go out and give it my best shot and hope for a little rub of the green.”

Kelly’s Ballybrakes team mates, Steven Falls, Derek Smith and Ian McClure are also primed for action in the triples.

They have avoided the preliminary round draw - opposing Graham Lesbriel, Phil Walters and Chris Dyer, of the Channel Islands in the semis.

But lurking ominously will be England’s Rob Elmore, Greg Harlow and Nicky Brett, who face a difficult prelim outing against Scottish rivals, Alex Fleming, Stuart Anderson and Gary Johnstone.

Belfast’s John McCullough has the distinction of carrying the Irish responsibility in the singles, coming up against England’s Mark Dawes in the semis.

McCullough will not be short of company as he will be joined by his Watson Stadium colleagues in both the pairs and fours disciplines.

David Nixon and Mike Merritt will operate in the former, against John Downey and David Prosser (Wales), while Paul Prunty, Jim McGetterick, Roy Battersby and Paul McEwan featuring in the fours, facing the Scottish rink skipped by Martin Williamson.

Meanwhile, young Chloe Watson goes on a double mission in the Women’s Championships that run in tandem with the men’s tournament.

She is joined by her Belfast colleagues, Cliodhna Eadie and Sandra Bailie for a triples showdown with either Kelly Packwood’s Wales or Gwen De La Mare (Channel Islands), who meet in the prelims.

The 16 year old Watson will also feature in the Under-25 singles, where she could well go head to head with the current women’s world singles title holder Katherine Rednall, from England.

First, she must meet the challenge of Carrie McLean (Scotland) in the prelim for the right to face Wales’ Amy Willams in the semis.

Rednall will be favourite oust Chloe Greechan (Channel Islands) in the other tie.

British Isles programme - Men’s Series: Monday: Prelim : L Bouse (Wales) v W Ditchfield (England). Semi finals: Prelim winner v G Kelly (Ireland); S Wilson (Scotland) v C Rabey (Channel Islands).

Singles: Prelim: T Priaulx (Channel Islands) v M Dick (Wales). Semi finals: Prelim winner v I McLean (Scotland); J McCullough (Ireland) v M Dawes (England); Pairs: Prelim: J Higgins, D Oliver (Scotland) v T Priaulx, C Dyer (Channel Islands). Semi finals: Prelim winner v N Brett, G Harlow (England); D Nixon, M Merritt (Ireland) v J Downey, D Prosser (Wales); Triples: Prelim: R Elmore, G Harlow, N Brett (England) v A Fleming, S Anderson, G Johnstone (Scotland); Semi finals: Prelim winner v C Keating, J Lewis, D Prosser (Wales); S Falls, D Smith, I McClure (Ireland) v G Lesbriel, P Walters, C Dyer (Channel Islands).

Fours: Prelim: P Prunty, J McGetterick, R Battersby, P McEwan (Ireland) v J Montgomerie, G Williamson, C Williamson, M Williamson (Scotland); Semi finals: Prelim winner v M Rive, G Davis, M De Sousa, T Greechan (Channel Islands); O Dando, M Selway, I Henderson, J Tomlinson (Wales) v L Croad, M Hutley, C Daniels, P Ward (England).

Senior (Over-60) Fours: Prelim: F Anderson, R Coleman, J Caldwell, R McCune (Ireland) v M Crocker, H Wood, R Buckner, J Anderson (England). Semi finals: Prelim winner v A Ness, L Ramsay, B Cragie, J Phillips (Scotland); R Darch, J Cahil, D Jones, T Elms (Wales) v J Le Cros, C De Ste Croix, D Atkinson, C Renouf (Channel Islands).

Women’s Championships

Monday: Prelim: C Watson (Ireland) v C McLean (Scotland); Semi finals: Prelim winner: v A Williams (Wales); C Greechan (Channel Islands) v K Rednall (England).

Singles: Prelim: C Baker (England) v A Merrien (Channel Islands). Semi finals: Prelim winner v B Morgan (Wales); L Stein (Scotland) v D Baird (Ireland).

Pairs: Prelim: S Petit, A Merrien (Channel Islands) v M Purcell, J Harris (Wales). Semi finals: Prelin winner v M Shimmons, C Johnston (Scotland); S Mart, P Cutts (England) v W Adair, McCord (Ireland).

Triples: Prelim: M McCulloch, Kerry Packwood, Kelly Packwood (Wales) v J Kimber, S Petit, G De La Mare (Channel Islands). Semi finals: Prelim winner v C Watson, C Eadie, S Bailie (Ireland); J Arnaud, J Leake, V Mansell (England) v L Harper, M McDougal, M Brown (Scotland).

Fours: Prelim: P Summerfield, K Martin, Y White, W Price (Wales) v W Adair, S ailie, S McAuley, B Cameron. Semi finals: Prelim winner S Simpson-Shaw, G Grant, C Tomlin, D Wilson (England); D Moon, C Greechan, H Greechan, L Greechan (Channel Islands) C Condy, J Archibald, M Buchannan, J Bray (Scotland).