Stubbs heads Irish treble joy
Raymond Stubbs turned back the clock by winning the Short Mat World Bowls Championship at Leigh, Greater Manchester, over the weekend.
The Ballinderry player may have had to wait 16 years since his maiden success, but if anything, this was a sweeter victory.
He defeated Sweden's Dick Almen in the final. However, his form leading to that showdown was astonishing.
"It's been a long time coming," he said. "It's hard to believe it was back in 2000 when I lifted the trophy for the first time.
"The competition is much more fierce these days. I'm delighted with the win."
Stubbs suffered only one setback in the group stage, losing out to Sweden's Joel Hagar. But he won his other nine ties, which earned him a semi-final against England's Adam Sultana. He negotiated that without a great deal of fuss, winning 13-9.
The Lisburn man finished the job with an exceptional showing, beating Almen 16-5.
The Irish also returned with the triples and fours titles.
Drumgor's Derek McCallion, Mark Sproule and Aiden Corrigan lifted the former. They took out Wales' Allan Slattery (18-9) in the decider.
The Wilson brothers from St Mark's, Portadown - Derick and Jonny - teamed up with Eddie Campbell and Andrew Leckey to win the fours 8-6 against an England rink skipped by Jake Atrill in the final.
Singles semi-finals: D Almen (Sweden) 10 S Williams (Wales) 8; R Stubbs (Ireland) 13 A Sultana (England) 9. Final: Stubbs 16 Almen 5. Pairs semi-finals: C Willies, P Hore (England) 13 D Doherty, N Rutledge (Ireland) 7; S Burrows, A Smith (England) 15 J Hagar, V Anderson (Sweden) 9. Final: Hore 13 Smith 7. Triples semi-finals: D McCallion, M Sproule, A Corrigan (Ireland) 18 B Hedges, N Barlett, D Strudden (England) 5; T Harris, A Goghlin, A Slattery (Wales) 11 A Humphreys, J Gladston, P Rees (Wales) 10. Final: Corrigan 16 Slattery 9. Fours semi-finals: A Fautley, AJ Brown, G Davies, J Atrill (England) 7 C John, C Martin, M John, L Haddon (Wales) 6; DJ Wilson, E Campbell, J Wilson, A Leckey (Ireland) 9 C McWinnie, J Edwards, A Hudson, N Evans (Wales) 7. Final: Leckey 10 Atrill 8.