A text from a non-roving reporter (i.e. someone who doesn’t got to work during the daytime!) said “The standard in this afternoon’s bowls is exceptional!”
So headed off to the BBC iPlayer once dinner was cooked. Well he was right. That was an amazing match between Jamie Walker & Jason Banks, the 2023 finalists. Wow, what amazing shots. Jamie’s last bowl in the first set was played with such confidence! I thought, from what I’ve watched over the last 10 days or so, that Jason Banks had his best game of the Championships. Draw, after draw, after draw. And the crowd …. didn’t even clap when a bowl was a mere foot short. They were tough!! Most of us are jolly pleased to get within a foot!
It was a really tight game and Jamie just had the edge. Watch it on iPlayer or YouTube if you haven’t managed to see it yet. On Friday, Jamie plays Harry Goodwin, the young qualifier, in the quarter-final. Last year it was Jamie and Jason who were the young qualifiers and they made it to the final!
Next came the first of the ladies semi-finals. A close first set between Katherine Rednall and Nicole Rogers which went to Katherine, then Nicole stepped up another gear to win the second. On to the tiebreak where, in the first end, Katherine played a pretty decent shot but had an incredibly fortunate result leaving Nicole to draw as wide as she could on the swingy forehand side. It was as difficult as it would be for us trying to draw a shot a yard beyond T weight and nigh on the ditch side rink marker on our rink 4! As Nicole said afterwards, playing her first two bowls short in the second tiebreak end wasn’t exactly helpful. So, Katherine goes into the final, hoping to clinch a 6th victory.
As it was late and being bowled out, I didn’t watch the Julie Forrest v Ceri Anne match. The 9-5; 10-7 result in favour of Julie suggests a pretty close match. They had a battle in the front end of the Mixed Pairs Final so it should have been top quality bowls. Was it? Who watched it?
The commentators certainly seemed to have their favourites (as well as predicting the shot they will play which seems to vary from the shot actually played !), so it will be interesting to see who they back in the Final this afternoon starting at 1:00 pm on BBC2.
Apart from the Ladies World Matchplay Final, the rest of the schedule is below. I haven’t quite found out why Alex Marshall dropped out of the Pairs but it’ll be good to see him back in the singles for the first game. Again, another strong Scottish contingent on the green again.
Alex Marshall MBE vs Martin Kreft
Katherine Rednall vs Julie Forrest
Nick Brett vs Billy Mellors
Michael Stepney vs Paul Foster MBE