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Payne bowls over opposition to take Irish Open title - The Irish News
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Payne bowls over opposition to take Irish Open title

Ray McClean

BELGIUM'S Dmitri Payne lifted his first SMPT title when he won the Ramada Plaza Irish Open in Belfast Indoor Bowls Club at the weekend.

The talented youngster, who finished runner-up to Ireland's Cecil Dillon in last season's English Masters, at last lifted the silverware when he defeated Andrew Morrison by a single shot.

Payne seemed set for an early finish when he led his opponent 8-1 after five ends but Morrison staged an incredible comeback to go down by the narrowest of margins.

The new champion reached the final with a 10-6 defeat of Brendan Murphy while Morrison finished five shots ahead of Pauline Beattie in the other semi.

However, compensation awaited the latter who picked up the bronze medal a feat she also achieved in last month's Henselite English Masters at Bromsgrove, England.

Despite his final defeat Morrison retains second spot in the world rankings behind Mark Beattie.

There were Irish successes in the other two competitions with Aidan Corrigan winning the plate and Frank Cunningham successful in the shield.

Tournament organiser and SMPT director Phil Mills expressed his delight that the event had again proved very successful and said: "The tournament has once again proved to be very popular and this year we had the biggest-ever entry of 162 players.

"The stadium's great facilities make it the perfect venue for major competitions and with the welcome involvement of the Ramada Plaza we hope to go from strength-to-strength."

Meanwhile, the outdoor season ended with victory for Wales in the BIBC junior international series at Oxford City and County BC, England.

However, it was a close finish with the Welsh and English tied on five points and the latter losing by two on shot aggregate.

Scotland finished third and the Irish took the wooden spoon despite very creditable performances in all three matches.

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