ALTHOUGH a little disappointed with a third placed finish at the World Indoor Bowls Championships in Sweden at the weekend, Fintona Pearses Bowling Club pair, Gary McNabb and Gerard Conroy, were proud of their achievements in Scandanavia.
The talented duo went into the prestigious event with realistic aspirations of reaching the pairs final, only for a fairly lucky bowl from their Irish team-mates, Kevin and Sean Conroy from Dundalk, to knock them out by one shot following a tense semi-final.
“We were a bit disappointed at the start, but when you look at it, it’s a good achievement to get that far,” observed Gary following his return home. “One lucky shot made the difference in the semi-final.
“Because I have someone of Gerard’s experience playing with me, we hoped to be in the top two or three, we were looking to further ourselves.”
Gary and Gerard impressed throughout the tournament, beating Belgium, Canada, England, Wales, India, Italy and Netherlands to top their group, finishing ahead of eventual winners, Sweden, who inflicted the Mid Tyrone pair’s only defeat before the knockout phase.
Having won their group, Gary and Gerard faced the runners-up in the other group, which just so happened to be their Irish team-mates and with the game delicately poised at 11-11 in the last end, the local pair thought they’d played a shot to win two points which would see them into the final.
However, a fortunate deflection from the Conroys meant they went on to claim the final shot to reach the decider, where they would fall to the Swedish duo who finished second in Gary and Gerard’s group.
To qualify for the World Championships, Gary and Gerard had to win between 15-18 games, including the Champion of Champions tournament, which they hope to do again in order to qualify for the 2020 event in Belgium.
In the meantime, this coming weekend they travel to Belfast as rivals at the National Singles tournament in Belfast where they both want to win in order to qualify for the British Isles Championships, where they were part of the rinks team that finished third overall last year.