World Indoor Bowls: Singles competition gets under way
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Now that the finalists in the pairs championship have been established, the focus turns to the Open Singles, with the world's best bowlers dreaming of pocketing the £55,000 first prize at the end of next week.
Five would-be qualifiers have been engaged in a protracted round robin, with a place in the 32-man field at stake.
And it was Wong Chun Yat, a 35-year-old interior designer from Hong Kong who goes by the name of C Y Wong who came up trumps, dropping only two sets in four rounds.
Wong, a member of the renowned Craigengower Cricket Club, showed his mettle in his games against Californian Charlie Herbert, Israeli Moti Polak, Canadian Gary Pickering and Welsh star Jarred Breen, and earned the right to take on the number 12 seed Mark Dawes today.
Yesterday, it fell to Darren Burnett, a community police officer from Arbroath, the reigning Commonwealth Games men's singles title-holder, and the number nine seed, to get the ball rolling, quite literally, as he faced a feisty challenge from Irish PBA qualifier Graham McKee.
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After getting home, 9-9, 7-5 in a gripping contest Burnett admitted he had been nervous when he received the draw 'because I knew that Graham is one of the best players around, and has experienced the pressures of the portable rink before.'
The opening end of the best-of-two-sets encounter gave a glimpse of what was to come: after all eight bowls had been delivered, two bowls - one red, one green - were actually touching the jack, and a rare tied-end was declared - yes, it was 0-0 after one end.
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Burnett, who won only three of the nine ends in the first set, collected a four, a double and a treble to lead, 9-7, with one end still to play, but, after both players had shown their skill with pin-point drives, McKee claimed two shots to tie the set.
'I never felt safe, because Graham was playing so well,' said the Scot. 'That hard game was just what I needed!'
Players' Player of the Year Jamie Chestney meets Chris Gale in this morning's first round match, and 1996 champion David Gourlay is set to play fellow Scot John McCrorie after lunch. The Dawes v Wong contest follows this evening.