Belfast Telegraph

Wilson hopeful he can boost Ireland's good record in British Isles singles


By Alex Mills

Mark Wilson admits he goes into the unknown in today's British Isles Bowls Championships at Leamington Spa.

The Cookstown man has the honour of representing Ireland in the prestigious singles discipline but will not know his semi-final opponent until lunchtime.

Wilson, who defeated Noel Graham in a gripping final to win the Irish title last August - a victory that duly punched his ticket to the showcase British event - awaits the winner of this morning's preliminary round tie between England's Jamie Walker and Martyn Rice of Scotland.

"Regardless of my semi-final opponent, I know it's going to be a difficult game," said Wilson, hoping to retrace the path of his Ireland colleagues Ian McClure, Paul Daly and Richard Leonard, who have had their hands on the trophy in recent years.

"Everyone has reached this stage on merit. Jamie Walker won the junior singles title last year, so I'm sure he'll be looking to make it a double.

"As a country, we've fared well in the singles of late, so hopefully I can keep that going."

Unfortunately, the remainder of the Irish contingent must start their British assault at the preliminary round stage.

Gary Kelly is back on the scent of the pairs title he last won back in 2009. Joined by Aaron Tennant, the Ballymoney duo go into action this morning against Scotland's Edward Murphy and Peter Jones.

Ireland's British Isles serial winner Martin McHugh - he has four gold medals in his locker - is hungry for more success, this time in the triples. He teams up with his Whitehead team-mates Jack Montgomery and JR Wilson for a preliminary round meeting with Wales' John Rees, Andrew Evans and Michael John.

Bangor's Robin Beattie, Jackie Erskine, Simon Denley and Keith Taylor carry the flag in the fours, facing England's Phil Middleton, Mark Atkins, Tom Holmes and Ryan Atkins in their opener.

In the final discipline, Cookstown's Tommy Johnston, William Lennox, Eric Sands and Colin Hogg feature in the Senior Fours. They tackle Guernsey's Len le Ber, Don Ogier, John Rihoy and Nigel Collins in their prelim tie.

Belfast Telegraph

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