Ireland bowlers hit back with British title

Raymond Stubbs
Raymond Stubbs

Ireland restored their battered pride by reclaiming the British Isles Short Mat International Championship at Potters Leisure Resort.

Having lost the team title at Dumfries last season for the first time since 2004, the battling Irish had revenge on the agenda as they finished the two-day event undefeated.

They also returned with the pairs and fours titles, which topped a successful weekend.

“This was a much better showing,” said IIBA official Harold Massey.

“Last season’s performance was very disappointing, but we wanted to get it out of the system.

“The other home nations have been making steady progress, but the level of performance fell well below the standards required.

“The selectors made six changes to the team – and it paid a handsome dividend.

“We got off to a great start against Scotland which blew away any early nerves and we just got stronger as the tournament progressed.

“Our representatives in the individual events also performed really well – we were unlucky not to have achieved a clean sweep.”

The Irish roared to a 56-30 win over Scotland in their opening match before piling up the shots with an impressive 56-31 success against Wales.

They approached their final game against England knowing it was a sudden death affair as the title holders were also unbeaten.

But the Irish were in no mood to surrender the title for the second successive year.

Raymond Stubbs led the charge by skipping his rink to a 13-5 victory over John Manley.

Colm McHugh and John Quinn also made a significant contribution with wins over Dominic Reid (10-4) and David Wiggins (14-8).

Although Kevin Conroy was beaten 15-9 by Roger Wiggins, it hardly mattered – the Irish had reclaimed their crown with an overall 46-32 victory.