Talented Dillon pops bubbly after winning English Masters in style

Pauline Beattie (right) was in good form in England
Pauline Beattie (right) was in good form in England

Cecil Dillon is bang on course to top the Short Mat Bowls Tour rankings this season!

The West Down man hardened his grip at the top of the Henselite Order of Merit table following his magnificent victory in the English Masters at Bromsgrove Indoor Bowls Club that reached a climax on Sunday night.

With only one of the five ranking events remaining -- the World Masters that will be staged at the Watson Stadium in April - Dillon has now opened up a big lead at the summit.

But after finishing in third place in last month’s Swedish Masters and runner-up in the European Masters, the Armagh farmer at last mounted the winners’ rostrum following an epic 9-8 win over Belgium’s Dimitri Payne.

Even though Dillon roared 6-1 in front at one stage, his opponent came storming back to level at seven ends.

It was still all square ahead of the final end. Dillon managed to ditch the jack with his third bowl which was good enough to earn him his first SMPT title.

“I’m thrilled,” he said afterwards. “It was a tough two days, but I’m so relieved to at last get over the finish line in one of these big tournaments.

“I’ve come so close on past occasions, it’s a great feeling to at last be crowned a winner. I’m already looking forward to the World Masters in Belfast. “

Dillon has now roared 106 points in front of Payne in the top of the rankings -- the Henselite Order of Merit Trophy and the £250 prize is now within his grasp.

Payne catapulted into second place on 227 points in the rankings, bursting ahead of Northern Ireland trio Joe Beattie (223), Jal Richardson (197) and Mark Beattie (188).

Armagh’s Pauline Beattie, whose husband Joe won the Swedish Masters last month, battled her way through to the quarter finals of the English tournament, but eventually lost out to England’s Anthony Faultey.

And, just to make it a Northern Ireland double, William Morrison, from 1st Ahoghill, defeated England’s Marc Lancaster 9-8 to win the Plate tournament.

Incidentally, the World Masters at the Watson Stadium proved to be so successful last season, the SMPT officials have extended to event to three days this season, from Friday-Sunday, April 11-13.

Bowls results . . . .

Belfast Indoor Bowls Club Specsavers Men’s Leagues

Monday: M Brown 8 J Hinds 21, M Kirkwood 13 R Dunbar 12, D Millar 7 R Walker 17, A Roberts 14 W Meehan 10, J Millar 12 A Robinson 11, D Hamilton 8 P Cromie 10, J Frazer 9 JJ Leonard 15. Tuesday”A”: M Merritt 22 B Hunter 4, B Daly 13 R Eynon 3, C Campbell 6 D Hamilton 15.

Tuesday”B”: D Watson 7 D Rankin 9, A Brown 17 E Thompson 10, D Linton 9 D McCandless 13, I McIntyre 8 T White 15, JH Campbell 15 M Gwynne 4, M Simpson 8 M Irvine 9, M Hedley 13 R Meaklim 9.

Wednesday: W Moran 6 R Simpson 18, A Gray 10 D Moore 7, I McIntyre 14 S Elliman 9, B Carlisle 14 F lemon 13, J Trolan 27 W Stevenson 4, A Fee 16 J Marshall 8, J Millar 12 W Thompson 9.

Thursday: D Smyth 10 D McCandless 19, T Gill 17 JH Campbell 11, F Simpson 7 S Elliman 16, D Linton 5 D McCluskey 13, C Donnelly 14 S Malcolmson 4, A Bailie 5 A Fee 17.

Friday: D Simpson 13 C Craig 25, R McKitterick 8 S Adamson 15, M Albert 13 M Moorhead 6, E McCourt 15 W Meehan 16, D Nelson 9 I McIntyre 12, J Marshall 24 D Clarke 5. Men’s Saturday League: M Gwynne 2 A Coyle 23, W Thompson 13 B Nixon 19, G Finlay 9 M Irvine 15, J McKelvey 11 T Roberts 24, A Briggs 9 M Dunlop 11, W McCullough 5 D Simpson 20, A Bailie 8 P McVeigh 11, M Merritt 17 A Robinson 12, H Johnston 13 B Kelso 11, J Herron 9 D Burns 28.

Jethro Rinks League

MORNING SECTION: W.Clinghan 12 (1) T.McCartan 15 (3), R.Hunter 20 (3) C.Whitty 8 (0), A.Magee 11 (2) W.Cairns 11 (2), G.Richardson 9 (1) J.Taylor 1 (3), W.Cousins 8 (1) C.Maguire 13 (3), R.Neely 7 (0) M.Milligan 26 (3).

AFTERNOON SECTION: W.Kinnon 20 (3) S.White 5 (0), N.Conlon 9 (1) G.Bell 12 (3), S.Garvey 19 (3) L.Magennis 9 (0), B.Boness 8 (1) J.Mackle 12 (3) N.Orr N/P (0) W.Martin N/P (3).