In-form Dillon edging ever closer to maiden IIBA National title success

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Cecil Dillon is closing in on his very first IIBA National title.

The West Down man has battled his way through to the final of the singles - he is due to meet Colm McHugh on April 2 - which will guarantee a new name will be scribbled on the trophy.

Dillon has enjoyed success on the Short Mat Players’ Tour in recent years, having won the Swedish Masters, which helped him top the Order of Merit table.

Surprisingly, this will be his first National final.

“I’m thrilled to be involved the final,” he said. “It’s a big opportunity, but I know Colm is a top player in the short mat game. He has won many National titles . . . so he can call on that experience.

“But I’ve come this far, so I intend to enjoy it. I’ll give it my best shot.”

Dillon was in excellent form in the qualifier at the Watson Stadium on Saturday.

He sent Danny McDonald, Ronald Stubbs and the experienced Tommy McAleavey hurtling through the exit door before claiming a 9-3 win against Chris Wylie in his Section decider.

McHugh, who requires the singles title to complete a full set of National titles, will go into the final as the big favourite.

He punched his ticket to the decider with an impressive semi final win (9-6) over his international team mate and rival Mark Wilson, from Cookstown High.

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

The big Foyle man skipped his rink to a nerve tingling 8-7 victory over Darren Witherspoon to claim his slot in the April 2 final against David Morrison.

Young Shane Hand is on course for a record-bursting four-in-a-row 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.

After booking a place in the Ladies pairs final last weekend, Pauline Beattie was at it again.

She now has another decider to negotiate, this time against Valerie Witherow in the triples.


National Singles: Section A, quarter finals: I Hobson 9 Kbradshaw 10; D Witherwpoon 5 C Wylie 10; Ron Stubbs 7 C Dillon 10; T McAleavey 11 M Beattie 9. Semi finals: K Bradshow 9 C Wylie 11; C Dillon 14 T McAleavey 1. Final: Wylie 3 Dillon 9.

Section B, quarter finals: M Wilson 9 R McCrudden 3; A Morrison 8 DJ Wilson 7; A Leckey 5 C McHugh 11; J Maguire 9 S Maginnis 5. Semi finals: M Wilson 10 A Morrison 5; C McHugh 12 J Maguire 1. Final: Wilson 6 McHugh 10.

National Fours, quarter finals: Ray Stubbs 8 M Beattie 12; G Moen 4 D Witherspoon 11; R Cunningham 12 M Sproule 6; D Morrison 9 Ron Stubbs 4. Semi finals: M Beattie 8 D Witherspoon 7; R Cunningham 6 D Morrison 8.

Ladies Triples, quarter finals: V Witherow 11 E McKinley 4; A Weir 18 P Haues 3; J Sharpe 5 M Douglas 13; A Agnew 9 P Beattie 11. Semi finals: V Witherow 9 A Weir 4; M Douglas 0 P Beattie 16.

Junior Singles, quarter finals: M Hamilton 8 S Hand 9; A Evans 9 G Kelly 8; C Elwood 3 J Rankin 11; D Anderson 7 J Moffett 9. Semi finals: S Hand 11 A Evans 4; J Ranking 7 J Moffett 9.

Over-55 Pairs, quarter finals: J McCann 10 W Calvin 3; B Maginnis 9 L McCarten 8; J Duggan 7 A McLaughlin 12; R Hastings 11 J McMahon 3.

Semi finals: J McCann 4 B Maginnis 12; A McLaughlin 7 R Hastings 9.

l Scotland’s David Gourlay is the new Co-operative Funeralcare International Open champion.

The Scot defeated England’s Jamie Chestney in the final at Blackpool’s Newtown Hall to lift the trophy.

“I’m chuffed,” said Gourlay, a former world indoor singles champion. “I knew it would be a tough job. Jamie is a top class player."