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McClure aims to repeat World domination

Ian McClure can't believe it is six years since he proudly held aloft the World Indoor Pairs title at Potters Leisure Resort, Norfolk.

Joined by Jeremy Henry, the Provincial Towns boys wrote themselves into the record books by becoming the first Irish players to win the coveted trophy.

They defied all the odds by eliminating a posse of top names before parading their prize possession along the famous blue portable rink.

McClure returns to the scene of his greatest indoor achievement at the weekend to reignite his challenge for the title.

With his big pal — Henry — now firmly established in Australia, McClure will have Gary McCloy by his side as they line out against Israel's Raymond Sher and Ylseal Meushar in a preliminary round tie on Monday.

The winners go into a second qualifier against Chris Chou and Kenny So, from Hong Kong, to earn the right to join the big names in the first round.

“It's hard to believe it's six years since the big lad (Henry) and I won the title,” reflects McClure.

“We had a great run. No one gave us a chance against all the world ranked players, but we just got on with it and didn't let reputations intimidate us. It was an unbelievable experience.”

McClure and McCloy, who won the Professional Bowlers' Association qualifier at Parkgate to book their world pairs ticket, will take nothing for granted against the Israeli duo.

“Obviously, we don't know much about our opponents,” he added. “Should we win, we go into another prelim against the Hong Kong boys. The winners will reach the main tournament against Mark Royal and Simon Skelton. But we can't afford to look that far ahead.”

World pairs draw: Play off one: H Bhartu, F Fong (Canada) v G Summers, F Souza (USA). Play off two: R Sher, Y Meushar (Isreal) v I McClure, G McCloy (Ireland). Winner of play off two v C Chau, K So (Hong Kong).

First round: M King (England), K Kerkow (Australia) v A Barker, M Stephen (Scotland); L Gillett (England), R Morgan (Wales) v P Bennett, G Wilson (New Zealand); D Gourlay (Scotland), B Jackson (England) v J Price, D Axon (Wales); G Harlow, N Brett (England) v B Wilkie, M Casey (Australia); M Royal, S Skelton (England) v Play off two winners; J Greenslade, R Weale (Wales) v J Chestney, G Smith (England); A Thomson, I Bond (England) v C Rimmington, R Lozzi (South Africa); A Marshall, P Foster (Scotland) v Play off one winners.

HOLDERS Armagh entertain Western in the quarter-finals of the Irish Indoor Bowling Association's Women's Inter-zone Championship at Richhill tomorrow.

Fixtures: South Tyrone v Donegal; Armagh v Western; Oriel v Mid Down; Mid Tyrone v North West.

Belfast Telegraph