BOWLS: Mark Beattie closes in on number one spot

Jal Richardson
Jal Richardson

Mark Beattie may already be assured of a place in the World Cup at Bromsgrove Bowls Club next month, but he has still some unfinished business on the Short Mat Players’ Tour.

The Foyle man currently leads the Order of Merit table, ahead of his Northern Ireland colleague Jal Richardson. With the prestigious Henselite Trophy and £250 up for grabs, both players will be pulling out all the stops in next week’s final SMPT ranking event of the season: the World Masters at the Watson Stadium.

Beattie, Richardson, Andrew Morrison and Cecil Dillon - who was last season’s Henselite winner - currently hold down the top four places that would guarantee all four their ticket to the World Cup.

But throw in the husband and wife combination of Joe and Paul Beattie into the equation, along with Ivan Craig and William Morrison, who all are mathematically in with a shout of edging into the top four, it makes for a fascinating finale to the season for local players.

“Entries are now closed for the World Masters,” said SMPT director Phil Mills.

“We finished up with 228 players on the starting grid, which is a great entry. The draw will be made on Thursday (today), with the groups finalised.

“There will be quite a battle with places in the World Cup up for grabs. Mark (Beattie) and Jal (Richardson) are already assured of their place at Bromsgrove. But Cecil Dillon, Pauline and Joe Beattie can all still deny Andrew Morrison the third spot he occupies. However, you can then add Ivan Craig, William Morrison, Lisa Douglas and PJ McCrossan into the equation.

“They all harbour the faintest hopes of qualifying, but one of them will need to put in an outstanding performance.”