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NI Open Championship Huge Success

NI Open Championship Huge Success

30 May 2019

What a weekend of sport in Dundonald International Ice Bowl! During 24th-26th May, competitors from all over the UK and Ireland travelled to Dundonald International Ice Bowl to compete in the 2019 Northern Ireland Ten Pin Bowling Open, run solely by the Northern Ireland Tenpin Bowling Federation (NITBF) in-conjunction with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and QubicaAMF. The Northern Ireland Open is the largest bowling event in Northern Ireland and made a return to the bowling calendar after a twelve year absence.

Saturday witnessed the qualification stage with bowlers battling it out to qualify for the Top 36 on Sunday morning. During the qualification stage, Ireland’s Joseph Clancy shot a perfect 300 game to a rapturous cheer by the viewing audience. The overnight lead belonged to the current Irish National Champion, Alan Bride, with 1839 (229.88 average), followed closely by Northern Ireland’s Commonwealth Gold and Silver Medallist William (Billy) Nimick with 1794 (224.25 average).

In the Top 36, William Nimick shot the highest 4 game block of the tournament with 1006 (251.50 ave) to take the tournament lead. Scotland’s Debbie Longstaff was also on fine form shooting 968 (242 ave) to move into 3rd place. Rounding out the cut for the Top 18 was Northern Ireland’s Grant Dugan with 2391 (199.25 average). In the Top 18, Ireland’s Eoghain Lebioda made the biggest move, shooting 952 (238 ave) to secure his place in the Top 8 Finals, alongside tournament leader Northern Ireland’s William Nimick (3668, 229.25 ave), Scotland’s Debbie Longstaff (3623, 226.44 ave), Ireland’s Alan Bride (3607, 225.44), Ireland’s Paul Chandler (3588, 224.25 ave), Ireland’s Karl Dryer (3571, 223.19 ave), Ireland’s Christopher Sloan (3520, 220 ave), and Ireland’s Jason Byrnes (3499, 218.69 ave).

The Grand Finals took the form of a Top 8 Round Robin and utilised a new format of a 5 Frame Game, possibly a world first in a major event. All spectators, competitors, and dignitaries were treated to quite a spectacle prior to the commencement of the finals when the lights in Dundonald International Ice Bowl were dimmed, and Hugh Jackman’s ‘The Greatest Show’ sounded before the Game of Thrones theme tune – during this time each Finalist was announced onto the lanes with a short biography of their bowling achievements. This can be viewed on the official Northern Ireland Tenpin Bowling Federation Facebook page.

The Finals were fast paced, gripping, and intense with the lead changing no less than three times. Heading into the final game there was only 60 pins separating the Top 4, it really was anyone’s to take. Ireland’s Eoghain Lebioda came so close to taking the title, after qualifying for the Top 36 in 14th place and at a point being 208 pins behind the tournament leader to finish just 31 pins off first. However, up stepped Northern Ireland’s William Nimick and much to the delight of the home crowd, William Nimick sealed his victory, and was congratulated by his mum Pat, wife Judith and daughter Emily, a truly special moment to witness.

William said afterwards, “It feels great to win the Northern Ireland Open and made even better by having my wife, mum, and daughter there to see it. The last 4/5 years have been tough as a bowler. I got married, had my daughter Emily, and had surgery to replace a disc in my neck. I lost the love for the game over that time and truthfully never thought I would get it back. The last 18 months or so I have started playing a few NITBF Ranking Events and doing quite well in them, even winning a few, one of which earned me a free entry to the Northern Ireland Open. Winning the Northern Ireland Open against some of the top players from all over the UK and Ireland makes me think maybe I do still have the ability to compete at a high level again. I would also like to thank NITBF President Grant Dugan, and NITBF Press Relations Officer Lauren Dugan for organising the tournament, and the staff at Dundonald International Ice Bowl for all their efforts. I hope to see everyone back next year and also some new faces as I look forward to the challenge of defending my title”.

The Northern Ireland Tenpin Bowling Federation were honoured to welcome the Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Alan Givan, Vice Chair of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council's Leisure and Community Development Committee, Councillor Hazel Legge, and QubicaAMF’s Director of International Relations and Sport Development Roger Creamer.

Presenting the prizes at the event, the Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Alan Givan said, “The Council is honoured to welcome back the NI Open to the bowling centre at Dundonald International Ice Bowl.  I was delighted to meet many of the bowlers and their supporters who had travelled to take part in the competition. It was fantastic to watch such an exciting final and I was particularly delighted to see many Northern Ireland bowlers finishing in the Top 18.

“I hope everyone enjoyed their time with us and I look forward to welcoming many of the bowlers and their spectators back to the Council area in the very near future”, concluded the Mayor.

The Vice Chair of the Council’s Leisure & Community Development Committee, Councillor Hazel Legge added, “Dundonald International Ice Bowl has a proud history of hosting prestigious sporting events and we are delighted to continue this success by hosting the NI Open after a 12 year break on the NITBF calendar.  The event has again attracted many high calibre bowlers and it was particularly pleasing to see Northern Ireland’s Billy Nimick lifting the prestigious winner’s trophy after a gallant performance throughout the weekend.”

“I would like to thank the Northern Ireland Tenpin Bowling Federation for organising the event and I hope the achievement of the bowlers will encourage others to learn to bowl or progress within the sport.”

Full results available on our official website:

Credit: Lauren Dugan 

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