Champion Rednall is back in ladies’ final as youthful battle at Potters hots up
- Credit: Nick Butcher
DAVID RHYS JONES turns the spotlight on yesterday's women's singles semi-finals at the World Indoor Championships.
How bowls has changed. The ages of the four semi-finalists in the Just Retirement women's world Matchplay championship at Potters Resort in Hopton-on-Sea yesterday added up to a modest 90 years - an average age of 22.5.
The defending champion, Katherine Rednall, who hails from Stowmarket, but plays for the Ipswich club in Rushmere Road, is only 19, but she faced an opponent fully two years younger in Vikki Bilson, from the Dolphin club in Poole. The daughter of bowlers John (a veteran international lead) and Christine Rednall, Katherine is taking a year out before taking up a place in university, where she will study textiles, but she is also a talented saxophonist.
Last year, she took the International Arena at Potters - and the wider world of bowls - by storm, when she powered to victory in this event, and, although below her best, she did enough to get past Bilson, 10-5, 8-4.
It should be pointed out that it was not a walk in the park for Rednall, who dropped a full house of four shots on the fourth end to trail, 5-4, before winning the first set with a 2-1-2-1 sequence, and who found herself 3-0 adrift in the second set. Again, she moved up a gear, scoring on the next five ends to lead 7-3, and was too concerned about dropping a single on the penultimate end to leave the Dorset teenager looking to score four shots on the ninth end to force a tiebreak.
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A last-end single to Rednall gave her what looked like an easy victory and a place in today's final, when she will face Welsh ace Laura Daniels, from the Earlswood club, near Swansea.
Daniels, who has formed a solid pairs partnership with world number one Paul Foster, regards herself as a drawing player, but surprised herself yesterday, when her attacking shots came off against Amy Stanton, from Welford-on-Avon in Warwickshire.
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Daniels, 29, lives in Skewen, plays outdoors for the Brynhyfryd club in Neath, and is an accountant, while Stanton, who was born in Somerset, has just turned 25, and works as an administrative assistant with Bowls England in Royal Leamington Spa. The Welsh ace defeated England's outdoor under 25 singles champion, 12-2, 6-7, 2-0, though, once Stanton, a slow starter, had found her touch, there was little to choose between the two players.
It was one-way-traffic in the first set, with Daniels racing into a 7-0 lead after three ends, helped enormously by a full house of four shots on the third end. Daniels showed dainty drawing skills, and Stanton's attacking bowls were never on target.
But it was different in the second set, as Stanton outdrew Daniels, and got her own back for the four she had dropped in the first set. In the end, Stanton's spirit was broken, and her last attempt to draw the shot was uncharacteristically off-line.
Today's final, which will be covered live by BBC television, starts at 1pm, and should be a cracker, featuring two players who are in good form.
First, however, at 10am, Paul Foster, who is hoping to clinch a place in the quarter finals of the open singles, faces a challenge from giant-killer Tony Webb, from the Riverain club in Hitchin.
Then following the women's final, five times world champion Alex Marshall takes on Australia's 24-year-old Ben Twist, before, tonight, in the late session, Norfolk's own Mervyn King meets veteran Anglo-Scot Andy Thomson.