Touch of Monty Python, but Jamie Chestney claims victory
- Credit: Nick Butcher
If it hadn't been the World Indoor Championships, the first singles game on the portable rink at Potters Resort yesterday would have had the makings of a Monty Python sketch.
World Bowls Tour-card holder Danny Denison was ruled out because he recently broke his leg in an incident in a Bournemouth bar two weeks ago, and his place was taken by the next player in line from the PBA ranking list, Chris Gale - who also has a broken leg.
Denison, who is 56 years old, travelled up from his home in Devon to see how his replacement would fare against Norfolk-born Jamie Chestney, who now lives and plays bowls in Devon, and he sported a shocking pink cast that started at his ankle, and went all the way up to his groin.
Gale, a 34-year-old civil servant and member of the Newton Hall club in Blackpool, did extensive damage to his knee playing football in October, and, although he is still strapped up, and walks with a pronounced limp, he has recovered well enough to play a decent game of bowls.
Yesterday, he did just that, taking the 30-year-old Chestney to a tiebreak.
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But, at the end of the day, the game he brought to the blue rink was not quite good enough to stop the number eight seed easing his way into the second round with a 10-1, 8-9, 2-0 victory.
Spectators were beginning to feel sorry for Gale when Chestney dominated the opening set.
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It was not that the Lancastrian played badly, but the rub of the green was with the star player, and Gale's brave efforts to save the day were in vain.
It was different in the second set, when Gale's running bowls started to come off.
A loose end from Chestney gifted Gale a full house of four shots, and a treble on the sixth end put him 8-5 in front in a set that he went on to win, 9-8.
But Chestney's class told in the end – winning the tiebreak in just two ends, he set up a mouthwatering clash with the reigning Commonwealth Games champion Darren Burnett next Tuesday, when a place in the quarter-finals will be the prize for the man who comes out on top.