Thursday, 10 November 2011 00:20

Foster Makes Quarter-Finals At Dewars Featured

Written by  Howard Harding

After the disappointment of a second round exit last year, Scotland's world number one and world champion Paul Foster made it through to the quarter-finals of the Co-operative Funeralcare Scottish International Open after a close-fought victory over England's former world champion Billy Jackson in the opening World Bowls Tour event of the season at Dewars Centre in Perth.

The Co-operative Funeralcare Scottish International Open features all but one of the top 16 indoor bowlers in the world, joined by qualifiers from the UK, Australia, South Africa, USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Israel.  The championship has attracted live coverage on BBC TV Scotland through to the final on Saturday (12 November).

The No2 seed from Troon led 6-3 in the opening set – but Jackson, the 14th seed from Lincoln, struck back over the next two ends to move two shots ahead of his higher-ranked rival.

Foster regained the lead, however, going into the final end – but Jackson scored a single to leave the set tied.

The Englishman led 3-2 after the fourth end of the second set – but was unable to take a further shot as Foster scored in four ends in a row to clinch the game 9-9, 9-3.

"I've always had to work hard against Billy," said Foster afterwards.  "Every single match we've ever played has always had a tied set or a tie-break.

"I'm pleased with the way I played," added the 38-year-old.

Foster, winner of the title two years ago and in his sixth quarter-final since 2002, now faces Welshman Robert Weale.

Winner of the Commonwealth Games singles gold medal in Delhi last year, Weale ended wildcard Les Gillett's run, beating the former world No12 from Leicester 9-6, 9-8.

England's Greg Harlow survived the day's most dramatic game.  The third seed from Ely in Cambridgeshire was on top throughout the first set against Brett Arkley - but then fell behind in the second as the Newcastle-upon-Tyne qualifier took the upper hand to force a best-of-three ends tie-break.

But Harlow, a former world No1 and world champion, called upon his superior experience to close out the game 8-5, 3-8, 2-0.

The final game of the day saw a repeat of last year's final – in which England's Mervyn King defeated unseeded Scot Stewart Anderson to win the title for the first time.

Anderson, now representing Wales and also seeded for the first time, was unable to reproduce the form which saw him reach the 2010 climax in only his second appearance in the WBT event.

King was on top throughout the first set, and recovered from dropping the first end of the second to romp home 13-3, 10-5.

RESULTS:    The Co-operative Funeralcare Scottish International Open, Perth, Scotland

2nd round:
[3] Greg Harlow (ENG) bt [Q] Brett Arkley (ENG)  8-5, 3-8, 2-0
[2] Paul Foster (SCO) bt [14] Billy Jackson (ENG)  9-9, 9-3
[11] Robert Weale (WAL) bt Les Gillett (ENG)  9-6, 9-8
[1] Mervyn King (ENG) bt [12] Stewart Anderson (WAL)  13-3, 10-5

Thursday 10 November, quarter-final schedule (from 10.30am):
[6] Simon Skelton (ENG) v [Q] Robert Paxton (ENG)     
[11] Robert Weale (WAL) v [2] Paul Foster (SCO)     
[1] Mervyn King (ENG) v Ian Bond (ENG)
[3] Greg Harlow (ENG) v [8] David Gourlay (SCO)

Friday 11 November, semi-final schedule (from 1.00pm):
King or Bond v Skelton or Paxton
Harlow or Gourlay v Weale or Foster

Last modified on Thursday, 10 November 2011 00:28