Richard McMullan surrendered his NIBA triples title at Ward Park in midweek.
The Portadown man lifted the crown for the first time last season, defeating Divis’ Gerard McGleave in the final, but with a semi final place again up for grabs, McMullan was edged out by Irish international Robert Hastings.
The Bangor man is now on course for his third triples title, having already lifted the trophy back in 2012 and 2010. And, he will be favourite to see off the challenge from Donaghadee’s Erick Kennedy in the semi final on August 1.
Lurking ominously in the other tie is the irrepressible Marty McHugh, whose last triples success was way back in 1997 when he defeated Lisnagarvey’s Johnny Ross in the decider.
McHugh was in bullish form against Bangor’s Simon Denley in the quarter finals, romping to a 22-4 victory. He will now face Whitehead’s Philip Weir.
Meanwhile, two former winners will clash in round two of the NIPBA Junior singles tonight. Ballymoney's Aaron Tennant, who lifted the title in 2011, will have home advantage against Letterkenny's Daniel O'Kane, the 2014 winner.
NIBA triples, quarter finals: E Kennedy (Donaghadee) 16 D Donagly (Balmoral) 15, S Denley (Bangor) 4 M McHugh (Whitehead) 22, R Hastings (Bangor) 15 R McMullan (Portadown) 13, M Stevenson (Castle) 14 P Weir (Whitehead) 18.
Tonight: PBA Junior singles, round two: L Devenney (Limavady) v D Morton (Castlerock), J Austin (City of Derry) v S Martin (Ballymoney), M Williamson Dunluce) v M Steen (Coleraine), M Gallagher (Letterkenny)v M Jones (Portglenone), JP Fahy (Portrush) v R Harris (Portstewart), R Hutchinaon (Castlerock) v B Stirling (Dunluce), M McKeown (Dunluce) S McSorley (Letterkenny), A Tennant (Ballymoney) v D O’Kane (Letterkenny).
NIBA Senior Fours, round two: W Moore (Limavady) v N Glasgow (Cookstown), T Colvin (Portrush) v A Scott (Ballymoney), J Heggarty (Letterkenny) v D McMacken (Dungiven), I Smyth (Kilrea) v W McKeown (Dunluce), W McCaw (Ballymoney) v V Dallas (Coleraine), T McKeegan (Ballycastle) v K McConomy (City of Derry), T Montgomery (Cookstown) v R Steven (Castlerock), J Hutchinson (Castlerock) v A Hagan (Brooke Park).