BOWLS: Colm McHugh is closing in on full set of national short mat medals

Jethro Rinks League winners. From left: Eddie Corkin, William Martin, Tony Bell, George Dawson (Umpire) and Bob Robinson
Jethro Rinks League winners. From left: Eddie Corkin, William Martin, Tony Bell, George Dawson (Umpire) and Bob Robinson

Colm McHugh is only one game away from completing a full set of IIBA National medals!

He will be hoping to finish the job at the Richhill Recreational Centre on Saturday, but must negotiate the challenge that will come from Cecil Dillon in the showcase decider.

Both players arrive in the final with contrasting backgrounds.

McHugh has been on the winners’ rostrum on quite a few occasions, but it will be his opponent’s first experience of a national showdown.

However, McHugh will be wary of the fact that Dillon has made a dramatic impact on the Short Mat Players’ Tour over the past few years.

He has not only won the Swedish Masters that featured the cream of Europe’s short mat bowlers, but that victory helped him earn top spot on the Order of Merit table the season before last.

“It’s hard to believe my first national title, which was the pairs, was won back in 1993,” said McHugh.

“My brother Liam and I went on to win it again in 2002 and 2005.

“We also won the fours in 2002, while the triples was our last national win in 2009.

“But that counts for nothing in a one-off singles game.”

Both players were in exceptional form in the qualifier earlier this month, with McHugh defeating his Ireland international team mate Mark Wilson in the semis, while Dillon claimed an impressive 9-3 win against Chris Wylie.

Meanwhile, Mark Beattie, who currently sits at the top of the SMPT World rankings, is also on track to gobble up his first National crown.

The big Foyle man skipped his Strabane Circket Club rink to a nerve tingling 8-7 victory over Darren Witherspoon to claim his slot in the final where he will meet the 1st Aghoghill side skipped by David Morrison.

Young Shane Hand is on course for a record-bursting four-in-a-row victory in the Junior singles.

The Oriel teenager was again too hot to handle in the qualifier and will now go head-to-head with Jack Moffett for the right to be crowned champion.

Paul Beattie may have forfeited her singles crown in the qualifiers, but she will still have a huge part to play at Richhill as she will features in the final of the ladies pairs and triples.

IIBA National Championships – finals

Singles: C McHugh (Cookstoan Parochial) v C Dillon (St Jospeh’s, Ponytzpass).

Pairs: E Morgan, A Johnston (St Micheal’s, Dundrum) v G Kennedy, S Kennedy (Largy)

Triples: G Stubbs, P Reid, Raymond Stubbs (Ballinderry) v A McKeown, R McKeown, P McKeown (Mossley)

Fours: T Morrison, W Morrison, A Morrison, D Morrison (1st Ahoghill) v G Moore, T Patton, PJ McCrossan, M Beattie (Strabane Cricket Club)

Ladies Singles: L Carleton (Drum) v E Forster (Clogh).

Ladies Pairs: M Cassells, P Beattie (St Mark’s, Portadown) v M Howe, L Carleton (Drum).

Ladies Triples: M Cassells, R Cassells, P Beattie St Mark’s v S Johnston, S Finlay, V Witherow (Strabane Cricket Club).

Over 55 Pairs: S Hedley, Robert Hastings (Ballywalter) v P McSkeane, Brendan Magennis (Clontibrett)

Junior Singles: S Hand (Corduff) v J Moffett (Rathfriland).

Junior Pairs: J Cochrane, A Rankin (Deramore) v D Bonner, C Glackin (Maghery)

p William Martin’s rink of Eddie Corkin, Bob Robinson and Tony Bell retained the Jethro Community Rinks League in Lurgan last week.

They defeated the combination skipped by Robert Hunter, which featured Leslie Strain, Reggie Collen and Stanley Black.

In a hotly contested affair, Martin chalked up a 16-10 victory after putting in a strong finish over the final three ends.

In the play-off for third/four place, Ann Magee, Husten Dillon, David Graham and Aidan Magee edged over the finish line by only one shot (14-13) against John Magennis, Amelia Woolsey, Noel Quinn and Liam Magennis.

Even though he dropped a count of five only the second end, Magennis bravely battled back to take the match to the wire.

Results: Belfast Indoor Bowls Club’s Men’s Evening Leagues

Monday: J Hinds 9 D Millar 6.75, I McCoy 19 M Brown 14,J Frazer 20 G waters 15, M McKeown7 S Templeton 12, S Dalzell 7 S Hegan 13, A Robinson 7 J Miller 21.

Tuesday “A’’: B Daly 12 P McVeigh 13, M Leckey 15 J Forsythe 10, J McGettrick 16 K Armstrong 5, M Hedley 7 C Campbell 16.

Tuesday “B’’: B Hunter 13 A Brown 7, B Carroll 10 JH Campbell 19, N Edmondson 13 A Entwistle 11, A Reid 11 A O’Rourke 13, J Allen 2 B Bell 26, E Thompson 17 M Simpson 11, M Irvine 7 S Malcolmson 18.

Wednesday: J Miller 14 S Elliman 7, D Porter 10 D Hamilton 20, J Trolan 15 J Gallagher 5, F Lemon 13 W Moran 6.

Thursday: JH Campbell 8 A Bailie 17