McHugh is a cut above the rest as he lifts singles title for third time

Martin McHugh bowling for Whitehead
Martin McHugh bowling for Whitehead
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Martin McHugh hardened his challenge for a place in Ireland’s world championships team by winning the British singles title at Llandrindrod Wells.

The big Whitehead man again demonstrated his class by demolishing Wales’ Jonathan Tomlinson in the showcase final.

McHugh wasn’t the only Irish player popping the champagne in Wales because the boys in green celebrated one of their most successful ever British campaigns.

He was joined on the winner’s rostrum by Andy O’Keeffe, who lifted the Under-25 singles title, while Rodney and Barry Kane picked up the pairs crown.

It could have been even better, because young Shea Martin was beaten by England’s Tom Holmes (21-16) in the final of the Under-18 singles, while the experienced rink of John Nicholl, Rod Coleman, Jim Baker and Roy Torrington were edged out by only one shot (19-18) in the final of the Senior fours.

It was Ireland best performance in the British Championships since 1979 when they last paraded three titles -- the singles, pairs and triples.

But it was McHugh who stole the show. He regained the singles crown he won on successive years in 2003 and 2004.

“I’m over the moon,” said the big international. “It couldn’t have gone any better for me, starting with a good win (21-13) over England’s Ben Sherwin in the prelims.

“Michael Rive (Jersey) was a tough nut to crack in the semis. The scores were level going into the last end, but I manged to reel in a count of four.

“And, I produced another strong finish in the final against Tomlinson in the final, picking up counts of three on the last two ends to run out 21-13 winner.”

Young Andy O'Keefe also fist pumped the air in delight following his win in the Under-25 singles -- repeating Gary Kelly's feat back in 2013.

He avoided the preliminary round stage, but displayed his title potential by defeating Jersey's Guy Walton 21-16 in the semis.

That earned him an outing against Wales' Jordan Davies -- and what a match it developed into. O'Keeffe was staring down the barrel of defeat, trailing 20-17 on 20 ends. But he reeled in a single, a two and a single to prise the title away from his opponent.

The Kanes, from the Dunluce club, were simply too hot to handle for England's Peter Shaw and James Amery in the final of the pairs.

Having already dumped out Jersey and Wales in the two previous rounds, the Provincial boys required only 19 ends before they popped open the bubbly.