Back to basics for bowls duo Kelly and McClure

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Back to basics for bowls duo Kelly and McClure thumbnailBowlers Gary Kelly and Ian McClure enjoyed great success at the World Outdoor Bowls Championships in New Zealand.

WORLD Championships silver medal winning pair Ian McClure and Gary Kelly were back in action again at the weekend - only this time on opposing sides.
The two friends - who combined brilliantly to finish second to hosts New Zealand earlier this month - were competing in the Irish Pairs qualifying tournament at Ballybrakes.
Ian partnered Derek Smith in Ballymoney with his erstwhile colleague Gary teamed up with Simon Colvin for the national indoor competition.
No doubt it was a strange experience for both.
“There's a huge difference between the two events," admitted Ian.
“Their greens are four or five yards quicker than our indoor surfaces while you also had the wind to contend with.
“We had about two and a half days to prepare for the tournament in New Zealand but I think we managed fine.
“As a team, we finished fourth overall which is probably the team's best ever performance so we're delighted with that.
“It was strange going back indoors again - and not teaming up with Gary!"
The pair's performance 'down under' maintains a recent impressive record: in the last three outings together, they have collected silver, gold and silver.
“We just get on well together and seem to bring out the best in each other," continued Ian.
“It was my third time in Christchurch and, to be honest, it's very similar to back home in a lot of ways.
“As for the tournament itself, it's right up there. Some people argue that it's bigger than the Commonwealth Games so, from a pure bowling perspective, it was great to win a silver medal."
Ironically, the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia is the next target for Ian and Gary as a pair, with the qualification process getting underway in the spring.
“The results from the recent World Championships should have some bearing on the team but the selectors will be watching events next year very closely," he explained.
“Current form will have a part to play as well so it's important that Gary and I can keep our good form going.
“There are no guarantees, obviously, but hopefully we will be in contention for a place in the team."
If successful, the Gold Coast games would be a remarkable fifth games for the 43-year-old civil servant and a second for his younger colleague Gary, aged 27.


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