McHugh edged out, Willis does NI netball proud

Commonwealth Games.
Commonwealth Games.

No medals but a whole lot of pride in their performances from the East Antrim competitors at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Bowler Martin McHugh bowed out at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles to Scotland’s Darren Burnett on Thursday in a game that swung one way and then another.

The 41-year-old Larne man started strongly and was 13-6 ahead before Burnett stormed back and into the lead 16-13.

McHugh, a stalwart of Whitehead Bowling Club, composed himself to claim a 20-16 advantage. He was within one shot of victory, but it was a shot that never came. Burnett came back once again and won 21-20.

“I was still playing well but Darren is a good player,” said McHugh. “He dug in which is the sign of a quality player. He played some good bowls, particularly at the death.”

Then, in what was Hannah Willis’ last appearnce as an international player, Northern Ireland’s netball team secured an historic win over Wales on Friday to secure a superb seventh place in Glasgow. The only other time Northern Ireland have placed this highly in a competition was in 1983 at the World Cup in Singapore.

And, despite exiting the competition at the first hurdle, it was great to hear heavyweight boxer Steven Ward, alongside ‘94 gold medal winner Neil Sinclair, commentating on Paddy Barnes’ success at the Hydro for Radio Ulster on Saturday afternoon.

East Antrim’s other competitors, 14-year-old Danielle Hill (swimming), Amanda Mogey (table tennis) and Christine McMahon (athletics) will, no doubt, use the experience gained in Glasgow to develop in their own particular sporting disciplines.

Here’s to the Gold Coast in 2018!