Paul Stott holds a commanding 120-pin lead after the first weekend of the tenpin bowling National Championships.
In the women’s section, defending champion Hannah Cullen holds a more slender 20-pin lead.
The event, being held in Leisureplex Stillorgan, runs over two consecutive weekends, with competitors taking part in singles, doubles, trios and five-man competition with the aim of making the final all Events round and ultimately become Irish National Champion.
The winner also gets to represent Ireland in the European Champions Cup later in the year. That event will be held in The Hague in Holland in 2012.
Stott put on a classy performance in the singles event on Saturday morning, shooting a 237 average for five games while others struggled around him on the tricky oil condition.
Closest to Stott was Barry Foley, who scored a 209 average, with Simon English in close pursuit in third with a 208 average.
Simon’s father Dave English had to settle for fourth, just outside the medal positions, while defending champion Alan Bride finished up in fifth.
The top eight was completed by Darryl Egan, Ray Byrne and Fran Puzzouli.
Overall scoring was fairly low on an unfamiliar oil pattern, with only eight men averaging 200 or better.
In the women’s section, defending champion Hannah Cullen showed she will not give up her title lightly, taking the gold with a 207 average.
Yvonne Randell took the silver medal with a 186 average, while the bronze medal went to Sarah Finlay with a 183 average.
Amanda Larkin, Caitriona Mulhall and Aimee Kellegher rounded off the top six spots, the number of competitors who will make the women’s final next weekend.
Dave English and Sean McDonnell took gold in the men’s doubles on Sunday morning, pipping Paul Stott and Stephen O’Connor by 15 pins over the four games.
Barry Foley, who shot an impressive 955 for his four games, and Brendan Brady finished in the bronze medal position, closely followed by Darragh McLoughlin and Alan Bride.
There was then nearly a 100-pin drop down to fifth position, taken by Kevin Fitzgerald and Jason Byrnes, and sixth spot, taken by Karl Dryer and Haulie Storan.
In the ladies section, gold went to Sara Kelly and Aimee Kellegher, silver to Caitriona Mulhall and Hannah Cullen, and bronze to Elaine Lalor and Carol Cathpole.
Just outside the medals were Catherine Doherty and Sarah Finlay, although there was some consolation for Finlay who shot 907 for her four games and shot up the overall standings table. She was bettered only by Kellegher, who shot 909.
Stott has a significant 120-pin lead in the men’s section, with Barry Foley currently second and Dave English 58 pins further back.
The top eight qualifying positions are currently rounded off by Alan Bride, Simon English, Paul Chandler, Darryl Egan and Kevin Fitzgerald, but with two events still to play next weekend it could still all change come next Sunday.
Hannah Cullen leads the way in the women’s section, with a 19-pin lead over Sarah Finlay. Aimee Kellegher is third, 44 pins further back. The other three qualifying positions in the women’s section are currently held by Carol Catchpole, Yvonne Randell and Caitriona Mulhall.
For all the action from the final weekend of the tenpin bowling National Championships, and to find out who will be crowned Irish National Champions, make sure to follow SportsNewsIreland’s coverage of the event next weekend.