Former world bowls champions collide to provide quarter-final TV treat

Friday, January 25, 2013
3:45 PM

Four former world champions will line-up in the quarter-finals of the men’s open singles at Potters today – and they come face to face during the afternoon’s live TV session on BBC2.

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Welsh legend John Price takes on Scotland’s head coach David Gourlay in one mouth-watering quarter-final before Paul Foster, who has already won the pairs and mixed pairs titles this week, meets Norfolk’s own Mervyn King.

The other quarter-finals see City of Ely’s Nick Brett challenging Stewart Anderson and Robert Paxton facing the solitary unseeded member of the last eight, Colin Walker.

Paxton is there after an audacious morning victory over Stowmarket’s Mark Royal yesterday left both bowlers close to speechless. Both admitted to being shell-shocked because the result flew in the face of the run of play, which favoured Royal.

Indeed, the Suffolk man outplayed his opponent from Exeter, who looked down and out when Royal won the first, 10-3, and led 7-3 in the second with only two ends left to play. There was no doubt about who was going to win.

A rare loose end from Royal coincided with Paxton finding his touch and an out-of-the-blue full house of four shots levelled the scores at 7-7 before Paxton scored the vital single to win the set, then won the tie-break in back-to-back ends for an unbelievable 3-10, 8-7, 2-0 victory.

“I’m glad I won, of course, but I didn’t want to celebrate, because that would have looked awful under the circumstances,” said a somewhat shame-faced Paxton. “Mark must feel awful, because he deserved to win the game, but, at the end of the day, I’m in the quarter-finals.”

Brett won in straight sets, 9-4 7-3, against New Zealand’s Phil Bennett, who had toppled champion Andy Thomson, while Scottish qualifier Walker, a former winner of the WIBC men’s singles title edged out Australia’s Ray Pearse 10-4, 2-8, 2-1.