Norwich’s Rebecca Field reaches semi-final of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines World Women’s Matchplay bowls singles championship

The combination of Field and Forrest sounds as if it would sit more comfortably in an issue of Hare and Hounds than in a bowls report.

But there they were – Rebecca Field and Julie Forrest – slugging it out in the quarter-finals of the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines World Women's Matchplay singles championship at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton-on-Sea at the weekend.

Field, a 22-year-old modern languages graduate from the University of East Anglia, who prefers to be called 'Bex', has fairly burst on to the world scene, and is looking comfortable in her new surroundings.

After learning her bowls in Boston in Lincolnshire, Field moved to Norwich to attend University, and is now a popular member of the Norfolk club in Unthank Road.

Showing great self-assurance on the portable rink, she allowed the vastly experienced Forrest, the British Isles women's indoor singles champion, from Teviotdale in the Borders, to score on only six of the 18 ends.


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Dropping a full house of four shots on the third end was hardly in the script – but she shrugged off what could have been a disaster and pressed home from 6-6 to win the first set 10-6.

Forrest rallied in the second set, and the game seemed to be heading for a tie-break when the Scot led 7-4 with three ends to play. The rules of the sets format mean that, in the case of a tied set, the result is awarded to the winner of the other set, so it was clear that Field's aim was to score three singles to tie the set. And that's exactly what she did, returning a 10-6, 7-7 scorecard and clinching a place in Wednesday's semi-finals.

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'I'm thrilled to have beaten Julie, whom I have admired from afar over the years,' said Field. 'Now I'm looking forward to taking on Karen Murphy, who has turned herself into a sort of bowling machine, and is one of the world's best. I hoped I would find myself on the portable rink one of these days – but didn't think it would be this year. It's a dream come true, and I'm chuffed to bits.'

Field, who will be back at work today at the Fountains Partnership, an online marketing company in Little Melton, paid a visit to Potters some 10 years ago, and was impressed.

'I'm still in awe of it, and can't believe I'm actually playing in the championships,' she smiled. 'But I'm confident I can put up a good show and improve on my quarter-final performance.'

The other semi-final will feature defending champion Ali Merrien, from Guernsey, who beat England's Amy Stanton, 5-4, 7-5 in a match of the highest quality, and England skip Debbie Stavrou, from Maidenhead.

Merrien, who did the double last year, winning the women's singles and mixed pairs titles, went out of the mixed pairs at the semi-final stage yesterday, when she and Simon Skelton were beaten by Stavrou and Scottish legend David Gourlay.

The arrival of the TV cameras today heralds the appearance of the singles champion Paul Foster, who launches his title-defence with what could be a tricky first round encounter with rising Welsh star Ross Owen, an 18-year-old student from Mountain Ash.

Foster will have a busy day, because he will also team up this afternoon with Alex Marshall in the pairs final. The Scots face Welsh opposition there, too in the shape of Jason Greenslade and Robert Weale, who are appearing in their first final.

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