Harlow has to be in top form at Potters

England's Greg Harlow knows he needs to be at the top of his game when he begins the defence of his title at the 2011 Potters Holidays World Indoor Singles Championship, the premier World Bowls Tour event which gets underway for the 13th successive year in Norfolk on Friday (January 7).

It was a case of '15th time lucky' when the 42-year-old from Ely in Cambridgeshire clinched the world title for the first time at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton-on-Sea a year ago.

Harlow, who sits at the top of the provisional WBT World Rankings after reaching the quarter-finals of the Co-operative Funeralcare Scottish International Open last month, will open his defence against young Irish qualifier Gary Kelly.

'I've only seen him play a couple of times — but he got a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, so he's a good player.

'If I don't put out my A game, I'll be in trouble,' said the top seed.

The World Indoor Championship is the flagship event within an internationally-renowned festival of world-class bowls at Potters Leisure Resort from January 7-23 — which also includes the World Indoor Pairs Championship, the Ladies World Matchplay Championship and the Mixed Pairs World Matchplay Championship.

Harlow gets his Potters campaign underway this Saturday when he pairs up with Welshman John Price for the first time in the quarter-finals of the World Pairs Championship.

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He teams up with City of Ely club-mate - and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ellen Falkner in the first round of the Mixed Pairs World Matchplay Championship on the following Friday (January 14), before beginning his singles title defence three days later.

So, as the world champion, will Harlow be feeling any different when he returns to Potters later this week?

'Not really — I'll be treating it just like any other tournament,' admitted the winner of seven WBT titles. 'There's a lot of bowls to play before I get to my first singles match against Gary.

'Winning the world title last year fulfilled a life-long ambition,' Harlow continued. 'But it hasn't changed my life. I didn't even get an invitation to the BBC Sports Personality Awards last month.

'It was no more than I expected. I would have been gobsmacked if I had got one!'

The championships will attract BBC TV coverage for seven days and for the first time this will feature all four event finals.

World Indoor Singles Championship first round draw: (1) Greg Harlow (Eng) v (q) Gary Kelly (Ire), (16) John Price (WAL) v (q) John Roberts (Wal), (9) Billy Jackson (Eng) v (q) Brett Arkley (Eng), (8) Mervyn King (Eng) v (q) John Candlish (Sco), (5) Simon Skelton (Eng) v (q) Phillip Last (Eng), (12) Robert Weale (Wal) v (q) Craig Rimmington (Rsa), [13] David Gourlay (SCO) v Tim Stone (Eng), (4) Alex Marshall, MBE (Sco) v (q) Glenn Skipp (Eng), (3) Mark Royal (Eng) v (q) Jamie Chestney (Eng), (14) Kelvin Kerkow (Aus) v (q) Nick Brett (Eng), (11) Darren Burnett (Sco) v (q) Steven Glen (Sco), (6) Jason Greenslade (Wal) v play-off winner, (7) Ian Bond (Eng) v (q) Andrew Ware (Eng), (10) Andy Thomson (Eng) v (q) Richard Moses (Eng), (15) Jonathan Ross (Sco) v (q) Barrie Lester (Aus), (2) Paul Foster (Sco) v Stewart Anderson (Sco).

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