Acle hope Tim Stone knocked out of world indoor bowls championship at Potters, Hopton-on-Sea by Dundee’s Darren Burnett
A sizzling drive from Dundee policeman Darren Burnett told the story of how Acle's Tim Stone, an academic book buyer who lives in Costessey, came to grief in the first round of the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines world indoor singles championship.
Facing the world number three Darren Burnett at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton-on-Sea, Stone had lost the first set 10-5. But he started the second with a spring in his step, scoring one shot on the opening end, and was holding three glorious shots on the second.
Burnett, a burly Dundee policeman, opened his shoulders, picked up the jack, and buried it in the ditch. And when the dust had settled he claimed three shots – a massive turnover of six.
In fairness, that was only part of the story, because Stone defiantly upped his game, and, at 5-5 after seven ends, was hoping to force Burnett into a tiebreak.
'Darren scored two shots on the next end, which meant I had to score three on the very last end to keep my hopes alive, and that's a lot to ask at this level,' said Stone after losing 5-10, 6-7. 'I started well with a treble on the very first end, and I suppose we both played some good bowls, but it was difficult to be consistent,' he added. 'To be honest, I was not happy with the way I played.'
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Stone admitted that his confidence was shattered before Christmas, when he was axed from the England team for the international series in Swansea in March.
'I thought I played OK in the trial, but I wasn't given any reason for being dropped,' he explained. 'Having qualified for two WBT ranking events, I have to say it was disappointing.'
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Burnett, who also admitted that he had been inconsistent, put his success down to a couple of on-target running bowls.
'My first two bowls were not as good as I would have liked, and I relied too heavily on my third or fourth deliveries,' he said, before paying tribute to the fairness of what he called 'the home crowd'.
'Tim was naturally very well supported – and there was a large section of the crowd quite rightly egging him on,' he observed. 'But they were generous in their appreciation of my shots as well.'
Burnett agreed with King's assessment of the rink, in that, although there are plenty of good bowls being played, no-one – with the possibly exception of Wayne Hogg on Tuesday night – has been 'nailing' the jack with any regularity.
Following the shock exit of Mervyn King at the hands of Hogg, Stone's departure means that Norfolk interest in the singles has come to an end – but King is now looking forward to teaming up with Aussie Karen Murphy in the mixed pairs, starting tomorrow. And Rebecca 'Bex' Field, the British Isles women's under 25 singles champion from the Norfolk club in Norwich, has two chances of glory, in the mixed pairs with Suffolk star Mark Royal, and in the women's Match Play singles.
Yesterday, results went according to form, with wins for the seeded players, Stewart Anderson, Jason Greenslade, Mark Royal and Burnett, who beat Aussie Tony Wood, Swindon's Neil Smith, Scottish qualifier Paul Boyd and Stone respectively.
World Singles, 1st round: S Anderson (Wales) bt T Wood (Aust) 7-10, 12-1, 2-0; J Greenslade (Wales) bt N Smith (Eng) 7-5, 11-2; M Royal (Eng) bt P Boyd (Scot) 10-5, 9-4; D Burnett (Scot) bt T Stone (Eng) 10-5, 7-6.
• TODAY'S POTTERS ACTION
10am: Billy Jackson (Eng) v Robert Paxton (Eng)
2pm: Robert Weale (Wales) v Cy Wong (Hong Kong) followed by Simon Skelton (Eng) v Phillip Last (Eng)
7.30pm: Alex Marshall (Scot) v Craig Rimmington (Sth Africa)
Mixed Pairs quarter-finals
10am: Simon Skelton & Alison Merrien v Alex Marshall & Janice Gower
2pm: Greg Harlow & Amy Stanton v David Gourlay & Debbie Stavrou followed by Darren Burnett & Julie Forrest v Mark Royal & Rebecca Field
7.30pm: Paul Foster & Kerry Packwood v Mervyn King & Karen Murphy