We’ve reached the final ranking tournament of the season and we’re heading to the Belfast Indoor Bowls Club for our blue ribbon event, the Henselite World Masters. Who will claim top spot in the World Rankings and who will walk away as the Order of Merit Champion?
234 players are vying for this weekend’s top prize of £1000 but who will be crowned Henselite World Masters Champion?
Here are our ones to watch!
36 year old Kevin has shown brilliant consistency in our Irish events but is yet to taste victory. Can the former World and British Isles Champion finally break his duck? Buoyed by his recent Irish national pairs victory, Kevin will be determined to finish off the season with yet more silverware.
Kevin should continue his run of qualifying for the Cup knockout in every tournament he’s played in. His toughest opponent in Group 11 should come in the form of 2015 UK Open Champion Gary McNabb with this match first up on the show mat.
Dimitri looks certain to end the season as World No.1 and has a great chance of topping the Order of Merit too. The 27 year old from Herentals still remains the only player from outside Ireland to win a ranking tournament in Belfast. Can the Belgian star cap a fantastic year by taking home his second singles title?
Qualification into the Cup knockout from Group 31 should be straightforward enough for Dimitri but he faces tricky ties against 2015 English Masters silver medallist Paul Bax and former World Cup winner Jorgen Karlsson, with the latter game taking centre stage on the Show Mat. He also has to play Irish legend Dessie Hamilton. Winning the group will see a likely clash with World No. 5 Joel Hager.
The 2013 Irish Open Champion and last season’s World Masters silver medallist is again amongst the favourites to lift another SMPT title. The 36 year old from Dromore, Lisburn has had another great season. Highlights include a 5th British Isles team winners medal in November and then just 3 weeks ago Andrew defeated club mate Jal Richardson to lift the Irish singles title.
It looks a formality for Andrew to make the Cup knockout from Group 35. He faces 3 fellow Irish bowlers as well as Harrison Sheen from England and Seamus Whelan from the Isle of Man. If Andrew secures top spot it’s likely he’ll face Irish star Raymond Stubbs. Can he go one better than last year? Watch this space.
The 41 year old from Axminster, Devon has had another consistent season on the Tour. Currently sitting 5th in the Order of Merit, James has a great chance to make the England World Cup team for August. Domestically, he now boasts a first National final appearance, with a silver medal in the Triples.
James will be favourite to qualify from Group 19. His toughest test will undoubtedly come from Irishman Derrick Spratt, he will also face David McGuinness & Gareth Kearney, fellow countryman Mark McHugh and Ann Katrine Kristiansen from Norway. If he succeeds in winning the group however his reward will be a match up against either Irish pairs Champion Sean Conroy or Swedish Masters Champion PJ Gallager in the first knockout round.
2014 Champion, Gerry has excelled in SMPT events here in Belfast. As well as his win in 2014, the 38 year old Oriel man has also gained a silver medal at this season’s Irish Open following an 11-5 defeat to Alan Paul. Can the former National & British Isle’s champion win again?
Gerry is drawn in Group 03 and faces a challenging task to qualify. Former British singles Champion, Dom Reed from England & compatriot Owen Kelly amongst those he’ll have to beat to make it through to the Cup knockout. If he successfully makes it through, His dad Brendan is one of a possible few he could face in the last 64.
As always you will be able to see all the results as they come in, you can view the constantly updated group tables and you can catch up on event highlights and see player interviews via the live feed on our website. We will also be bringing you matches live via our Facebook page throughout the weekend, so make sure you’ve ‘liked’ our page.