Acle's Stone rolled over by No 1 ranked ace Marshall
David Rhys-JonesTim Stone's dream of winning the WBT world indoor singles title was shattered yesterday, when he lost to the world number one, and five times winner of the title, Alex "Tattie" Marshall, MBE, in straight sets, 10-6, 7-3.David Rhys-Jones
Tim Stone's dream of winning the WBT world indoor singles title was shattered yesterday, when he lost to the world number one, and five times winner of the title, Alex "Tattie" Marshall, MBE, in straight sets, 10-6, 7-3.
Although Stone's bubble burst, there was honour in defeat, because he put up a good show - and there is no doubting the fact that he will always remember January 2010, as the month when baby Harry was born.
When his pregnant wife Bec was rushed into the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on Wednesday of last week, doctors diagnosed pre-eclampsia, and their first child was born by Caesarian section.
Having welcomed the new arrival, Stone dashed to Potters Leisure Resort, and, on automatic pilot, accounted for his England team-mate Graham Smith in a thrilling first round contest.
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"The week since then has been focused on Harry," said Stone yesterday. "That was just as well, because it gave me something to think about away from bowls, and deflected attention away from my second round match with Tattie."
Although Marshall loves playing at Potters, where he has a fantastic record on the portable rink, the Scot has shown himself to be vulnerable in the early stages, which encouraged Stone to think victory might be in his grasp.
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Marshall was quick to extinguish the Acle man's hopes, turning on a display of steady drawing to the jack that prompted him to say afterwards: "There's no reason why I can't win the title for a sixth time if I go on playing like that."
Perhaps Stone's mind was still on nappies and midnight feeds, because he started slowly in the first set, dropping a double and a single, but there was a big cheer when he drew level at a stroke with a treble on the third end. "I played my only really bad end of the match on the fourth end, and dropped a full house," recalled Stone. "At the end of the set, that was the difference, and I thought I played quite well on the second set to lead 3-2 after four ends."
That was as far as it went, however, as Marshall closed out the game with some effective play, a 1-1-2-1 sequence seeing him home with one end to spare.
"Now it's back to family matters," Stone said with a smile. "I've got another spell of paternity leave, and I'm looking forward to spending my time with Bec and Harry, who are both doing well."
When Mark McMahon lost to rising star Stewart Anderson, there was a moment of high emotion on the portable rink, when McMahon was presented with a bottle of champagne to mark his retirement from the World Bowls Tour circuit.
McMahon, who is only 40, played in the world championships for 21 years, winning the pairs in 2001, and finishing runner up in the singles in 2004. Born in Scotland, he represented Hong Kong, Australia and, for a brief spell, England, and is one of the most recognisable figures in the sport.
Anderson, who is only 24, and plays for Auchinleck in Ayrshire, retained the WIBC world under 25 singles title in November, and is tipped by his fellow players for great things.
He certainly played superbly to topple McMahon, the number 15 seed - and the seventh seed to tumble - in straight sets, 8-6, 11-5.
Greg Harlow, a popular player, who has won all three of the other WBT ranking events, but has yet to win the world indoor singles title, was always in control against 53-year-old Cardiff civil servant Phil Rowlands, winning a quiet match in straight sets, 7-2, 8-7.
Last night, Tayside police officer Darren Burnett pounded the number 13 seed Les Gillett, who found himself on the wrong end of an brutal 11-2, 8-3 card.
It was one-way traffic as Burnett drew relentlessly, and occasionally drove with force and accuracy, and Gillett, the eighth seed to fall so far, was totally outclassed.