World Indoor Bowls: Mixed pairs line-up decided at Potters as first final looms

Darren Burnett and Bex Field and opponent Alison Merrien (green) keep a close eye on proceedings in

Darren Burnett and Bex Field and opponent Alison Merrien (green) keep a close eye on proceedings in the mixed pairs semi-final. Picture: David Rhys Jones - Credit: Archant

Today sees the first final of the 2018 Just World Bowls Championships at Potters where favourites Greg Harlow and Nick Brett face a strong challenge for the Open Pairs title from Mark Dawes and Jamie Chestney.

Whoever wins, there will be cause for celebration in Norfolk, because Harlow is the Bowls Ambassador at Potters and Chestney was born and brought up in the county before decamping for Devon, where he is married to the 2010 Commonwealth Games women's singles champion Natalie Chestney.

The line-up for tomorrow's mixed pairs final was established yesterday, with Bex Field and Darren Burnett defeating Ali Merrien and Stewart Anderson 7-5, 4-8, 2-1 and Lesley Doig and Chestney edging past Katherine Rednall and Harlow 6-5, 5-5.

Everyone loved the marathon semi-final in which the initiative switched hands frequently. Field and Burnett looked unbeatable at first but Merrien and Anderson threatened to get over the line and, predictably enough, it went down to the wire.

The sudden-death third end of the tiebreak was particularly spectacular, with delicate drawing and ferocious firing entertaining the Potters faithful.

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Merrien drew the shot, and Field knocked it off; then Anderson promptly a perfect bowl to the jack. only for Burnett to strike with a bulls-eye drive; yet again Anderson drew the shot, but it didn't stay there long as Burnett clipped it away.

Anderson's task was to repeat his unerring accuracy with his third delivery but things are not that simple when you are under pressure and he overplayed it, leaving Field and Burnett holding the shot that sealed the win.

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There they will play Doig and Chestney, whose win over Rednall and Harlow was slightly more comfortable than the scoreline might suggest. Having scored a single to win the first set, Doig and Chestney seemed to have the second under control when they led 4-1 but a couple of miracle shots from Harlow kept it alive before Chestney sealed victory.

In the day's opening match on the portable rink, Jonathan Ross became the third seed in the Open Singles to fall at the first hurdle, following Alex Marshall and Andy Thomson, Ross lost 7-7 9-6 to England PBA qualifier Scott Edwards.

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