Bowls round-up: 19th world title seals new record for Alex Marshall
Welsh twins, deep snow and a world record have enlivened the Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines WBT world indoor bowls championships at Potters Leisure Resort, near Lowestoft, this week, while back in the West Country last weekend, many matches were called off.
Those who battled through the snow to attend the World Bowls Tour event in Norfolk were rewarded by some fine performances on the famous blue portable rink, that was designed in Bristol almost 30 years ago under David Bryant’s guidance.
On Monday, Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall, who is 45, created a world record when, with his fellow Scot Paul Foster, he won the world indoor pairs title for the third time on the trot, and claimed his 19th world title.
In doing so, he became the most decorated bowler in the world, across the indoor and outdoor games, certainly in terms of world titles, edging ahead of former Cheltenham star Tony Allcock, who previously shared the honour with him on 18 titles.
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As a gauge of what that means, he has now won four more than Clevedon’s legendary Bryant – though, of course, in Bryant’s day there were not as many world titles to have a tilt at.
Marshall has won the world indoor singles and pairs titles, each of them five times, and has also lifted the mixed pairs Matchplay title twice. Outdoors, he has missed out of the world singles title, but has won the pairs three times and the fours once.
Add to that astonishing collection the three Leonard Trophy team titles he won with Scotland in the world outdoor championship between 1992 and 2004, and you have a mighty impressive haul.
“I can’t believe it,” Marshall said yesterday. “I grew up watching the likes of Bryant and Allcock on TV, and idolised them. It’s fantastic to think that I have now overtaken my heroes in terms of world titles, and I feel deeply honoured.”
Although they went out early in the pairs, 20-year-old twins Gareth and Gavin Rees, sons of the burly Welshman Steve Rees, enjoyed their first experience of the portable rink, but another set of Welsh twins are burning up the greens, and no mistake.
Like the Rees brothers, the Packwood sisters, Kerry and Kelly, from Cwmbran, are identical twins, and they have caught the eye at Potters on and off the green.
Now 26, they are former disco dancing champions, but they are genuinely among the very top women’s bowlers in the Principality, and have set up the appetising prospect of an all-Packwood final in the WBT women’s Matchplay Singles event.
Kelly reached today’s semi- final by ousting the holder and world outdoor champion Karen Murphy, from Australia, while Kerry swept past twice world indoor champion Debbie Stavrou, from the Desborough club in Maidenhead.
Yesterday, Foster won his second world title in two days, when he steered Welsh star Laura Thomas, a 27-year-old accountant from Skewen, to a 12-5, 10-6 win over Australia’s Karen Murphy and Scotland’s Darren Burnett in the mixed pairs final.
Having won both pairs titles, Foster is refusing to countenance the possibility of completing a remarkable treble by winning the singles this week – though, not surprisingly, he is the bookies’ favourite for the Blue Riband event.
Just as well the world event is being played indoors, because several inches of snow lies on the ground in Norfolk – but, although it has created problems, the snow has proved popular with some of the overseas players, who have never seen the white stuff before.
Kelvin Kerkow, the popular Aussie, who suffered from Guillan Barre Syndrome in his youth, and carries a stick on to the rink to help him balance, received a wildcard invitation, but made a quick exit at the hands of David Gourlay.
But his 13-year-old son Ky was able to enjoy his first experience of building a snowman and throwing snowballs, before the Kerkows made their long journey back to Queensland, where the temperature are in the forties.
Not all important matches were called off in the West, where Taunton Deane pulled off the club’s most famous victory yet, when 16 of the club’s women defeated a hotly-tipped side from the brand new Plymouth Life Centre, and grabbed a place in the quarter finals of the Yetton Trophy.
With wins of 22-20 and 19-18 for the rinks skipped by Wendy Merchant and Sue Evans, the Deane owed much to the away rink skipped by 23-year-old Kirsty Hembrow, who returned a telling 24-13 card.
Deane’s win set them up for a quarter final encounter with the upwardly mobile Bournemouth club, who beat Bognor Regis based Arun, 90-72.
In the Yetton Plate, Nailsea’s women were thrilled with their massive win over Honiton, who, as it happens, beat them last year at the same stage of the Yetton Trophy, but who could not cope with the onslaught on one rink at the Mizzymead Centre.
Pam Crawshaw, skipping against one of Devon’s best bowlers, Carol Binmore, could hardly believe it when Nailsea’s score advanced to 37-0 over the first 20 ends – but a rare whitewash was averted when Binmore’s quartet picked up a double on the very last end.
Last weekend’s Denny Cup and Plate quarter-finals featured clashes between clubs from opposite ends of the country, so it was no surprise when there was a rash of cancellations – though Torquay United managed to get to Melton Mowbray to meet Hartlepool, and Torbay fulfilled their fixture with Darlington at Bromsgrove.
The star-studded Torquay side were trounced 80-35 and, controversially, threw in the towel with 26 ends left to play across the green, but Torbay pulled off a great 73-67 win over a strong Darlington team.
But Cotswold, due to play Cumbria at the South Forest club in Mansfield, were denied the privilege because of the weather, while Thornbury’s trip to Rugby to play Blackpool Newton Hall was called off.
On Sunday, eight of the seventeen Wessex League fixtures were cancelled – or at least postponed, but credit must be given to the 18 clubs who fulfilled the nine remaining matches.
Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines WBT world indoor bowls championship at Potters Leisure Resort in Norfolk – Singles, First round: N Brett (Eng) bt R Chisholm (Wales) 5-7, 12-6, 2-1; S Anderson (Scot) bt M Dawes (Eng) 8-8, 9-5; C Craig (Ire) bt D Burnett (Scot) 12-5, 10-6; M King (Eng) bt L Gillett (Eng) 9-6, 12-3; J Price (Wales) bt J Chestney (Eng) 8-4, 9-3; C Walker (Scot) bt G Harlow (Eng) 8-4, 9-3; S Allan (Scot) bt S Skelton (Eng) 8-8, 7-5; A Marshall (Scot) bt S Edwards (Eng) 9-8, 8-6; P Foster (Scot) bt S Harris (Wales) 11-2, 11-5; J Greenslade (Wales) bt B Jackson (Eng) 4-9, 10-1, 2-0; D Gourlay (Scot) bt K Kerkow (Aus) 9-6, 9-5; M Royal (Eng) bt T Meyeridricks (South Africa) 14-4, 13-0; R Paxton (Eng) bt R Gordon (Scot) 8-6, 4-7, 2-0; R Pearse (Australia) bt R Weale (Wales) 12-8, 6-4; P Bennett (New Zealand) bt A E Thomson (England) 8-8, 8-3; J Ross (Scotland) bt P Briscoe (England) 12-6, 7-8, 2-0. Second round: Price bt Craig 8-5, 8-4; Anderson bt Allan 7-6, 3-9, 2-1.
Pairs – last 16: M Royal & A E Thomson (Eng) bt L Prince & S Edwards (Eng) 11-2, 8-6; M King & S Skelton (Eng) bt G & G Rees (Wales) 9-4, 16-0; J Price (Wales) & B Jackson (Eng) bt R Battersby & J McCullough (Ire) 10-3, 2-8, 2-0; J Greenslade & R Weale (Wales) bt G Donaldson & C Walker (Scot) 9-4, 11-7. Quarter-finals: P Foster & A Marshall (Scot) bt Royal & Thomson 6-9, 11-3, 2-1; King & Skelton bt R Paxton (Eng) & D Gourlay (Scot) 10-0, 6-6; N Brett & G Harlow (Eng) bt Price & Jackson 8-2, 8-4; S Anderson & D Burnett (Scot) bt Greenslade & Weale 8-5, 13-4. Semi- finals: Foster & Marshall bt King & Skelton 5-7, 8-7, 2-1; Anderson & Burnett bt Brett & Harlow 7-5, 9-5. Final:
Women’s singles – Quarter-finals: R Field (Eng) bt L Thomas (Wales) 5-9, 10-5, 2-0; Kelly Packwood (Wales) bt K Murphy (Aus) 3-10, 9-5, 2-0; A Merrien (Gue) bt E Falkner (Eng) 9-4, 6-7, 2-1; Kerry Packwood (Wales) bt D Stavrou (Eng) 4-9, 13-3, 2-0. Semi finals (today): Kelly Packwood v Merrien; Kerry Packwood v Field.
Mixed pairs – quarter-finals: L Thomas (Wales) & P Foster (Sco) bt K Packwood (Wales) & S Skelton (Eng) 5-6, 8-5, 2-1; A Merrien (Gue) & M King (Eng) bt D Stavrou (Eng) & D Gourlay (Sco) 13-8, 7-10, 2-0; K Murphy (Aus) & D Burnett (Sco) bt E Falkner & A E Thomson (Eng) 9-4, 6-6; K Packwood (Wales) & M Royal (Eng) bt R Field & G Harlow (Eng) 7-2, 2-10, 2-1. Semi-finals: Thomas & Foster bt Kerry Packwood 9-1, 11-3; Murphy & Burnett bt Merrien & King 8-3, 3-13, 2-1. Final: Thomas & Foster bt Murphy & Burnett 12-5, 10-6.
EIBA national women’s inter-club championship (Yetton Trophy) – Last 16, at Deane: D Routley 16, A Hodsoll 21; W Merchant 22, H Avent 20. At Plymouth Life Centre: S Evans 19, V Lander 18; K Hembrow 24, M Player 13. Other results: York bt South Shields 101-73; Lincoln bt Leicester 118-67; Cambridge Chesterton bt Welford-on-Avon 95-65; Norfolk v Harpenden (postponed); Jacks bt Chigwell 86-57; Egham bt Royal Tunbridge Wells 107-52; Bournemouth bt Arun 90-72.
EIBA national women’s inter-club championship (Yetton Plate) – Last 16: Nailsea bt Honiton 101-60 – Rink scores (Nailsea skips first): At Mizzymead: N Reid 18, S Hiscock 24; P Crawshaw 37, C Binmore 2. At Honiton: M Lewis 26, A Hillyer 20; T Billington 20, J Grant 14. Peterborough bt MidGlos 77-57 – Rink scores (P’boro skips first): J Padley 16, M Savage 21; C Craig 22, M Stalley 10; M McColl 15, C Hunter 16; P Gunn 11, J Masters 23. Other results: Durham bt Redcar 90-76; Barwell bt Louth 77-76; County Arts v Riverain (postponed); Tye Green bt Tilbury 75-69; Folkestone bt Sutton 81-80; Egerton Park bt Atherley 77-72.
EIBA national men’s inter-club championship (Denny Cup) – Quarter- finals, at Melton Mowbray: Hartlepool bt Torquay United 80-35 – Rink scores (Hartlepool skips first): V O’Neill 24, L Ridout 6; P Hartley 30, S Tolchard 4; P Mosley 20, D Denison 10; G Skipp 6, J Chestney 15. Other results: Cumbria v Cotswold); City of Ely v Wey Valley; Bournemouth v Acle (all postponed).
EIBA national men’s inter-club championship (Denny Plate) – Quarter- finals, at Bromsgrove: Torbay bt Darlington 73-67 – Rink scores (Torbay skips first): R Johnson 23, T Macey 7; D Summers 17, A Kirtland 21; A Bowden 12, M Jones 27; D Singleton 21, J Fielding 12. Other results: Blackpool Newton Hall v Thornbury (postponed); Swale bt County Arts 84-76; Egham v Beccles (postponed).
Warner Leisure Hotels Wessex League – West Region: Exonia bt Torquay United 101-64 (16-0). North Region: Thornbury bt Gloucester 82-66 (14-2). Midland Region: Bromsgrove bt Tamworth 72-64 (13-3). East Region: West Berks bt Rivermead 110-45 (16-0). Coastal Region: Five Rivers bt East Dorset 80-76 (14-2); Dorchester bt Bournemouth Royals 88-74 (14-2); Dolphin bt Dolphin Blues 87-65 (14-2). Central Region: Clarrie Dunbar bt Christie Miller 85-78 (12-4); Bristol bt Weston St Andrews 101-66 (14-2).