Norman Rutledge thrilled to partner David Doherty to bowls IIBA Champions title
David Doherty and Norman Rutledge came from under the radar to win the IIBA Champion of Champions Pairs title at the Watson Stadium on Saturday.
As the big names tumbled, the unfancied duo from Sixmilecross defied all the odds, defeating Rosemary and David Beattie to pick up their first major trophy.
Doherty and Rutledge will now represent Ireland in the Short Mat World Bowls at Preston later in the season.
"We're absolutely thrilled," said Rutledge.
"Of the four Champion of Champions disciplines, the pairs is undoubtedly the toughest to win.
"This was certainly a big victory for us. We are now through the World Bowls, which is another massive boost."
Doherty and Rutledge trailed 9-7 approaching the final end of the decider, but showed their battling qualities by picking up a count of three to take them over the finish line.
Champion of Champions Pairs: Semi-finals: Rosemary Beattie, David Beattie (Drumgor) 7 Trevor Gray, Johnny Gray (All Saints, Tullylish) 5; David Doherty, Norman Rutledge (Sixmilecross) 12 Sean Trainor, Martin Trainor (St. Anthony's) 6. Final: Beattie, Beattie 9 Rutledge, Doherty 10.
Champion of Champions Triples: Semi-finals: Derek McCann, Graham Christie, Peter Christie (Spa Golf Club) 8 Eddie Campbell, Andrew Leckey, Jal Richardson (St. Mark's, Portadown) 7; Sean Breen, Terry Crawford, Danny McDonald (St. Anthony's) 6 Mark Devlin, Billy Johnston, Stephen McKinley (Ulster Transport) 7.