History was made at the inaugural World Bowls Indoor Championships in Bristol today, when, for the first time, a husband faced his wife in the final of the mixed pairs event.
Scotland’s Stewart Anderson had been invited to these championships as the International Indoor Bowls Council’s reigning men’s singles champion, and was duly partnered by the holder of the IIBC women’s singles title, Alison Merrien, from the Channel Island of Guow. Anderson’s wife Clair partnered fellow Scot Mike Stepney from Elgin, so the final, which was always going to be fascinating, had an extra dimension.
All four finalists looked tired – and they were entitled to, having spent ten hours on the green during the day – but the quality of bowls was astonishing, the leads consistently setting up good heads, and the skips often converting with inch-perfect deliveries.
And it was the favourites, Alison and Stewart, who came out on top, predictably on a tiebreak, winning the title with a 7-8, 8-6, 1-0 scoreline.
In the semi finals, Merrien and Anderson scorched to a 10-1, 14-3 victory over Ireland’s Lara Reaney and Gary Kelly, while Anderson and Stepney needed a tiebreak before they overcame South African duo Colleen Piketh and Jason Evans.
Stewart Anderson and Mike Stepney could meet again tomorrow (FRI) in the final of the men’s singles, but first Anderson has to beat England’s Andy Walters, a man who has a devastating drive in his armoury, and Stepney has to get past Evans.
In the women’s singles, serial winner Julie Forrest, from Scotland, faces Welsh star Amy Williams in one semi final, while Hong Kong’s Gloria Ha, who edged past Merrien, 0-10, 8-7, 1-0, in a remarkable quarter final, will meet Ireland’s Sandra Bailie, who pipped Welsh ace Kerry Packwood, 7-6, 7-7.
Note – players marked * were invited to compete as holders of WB and IIBC singles titles. Gary Kelly is the holder of the WB World Cup, while Stewart Anderson and Alison Merrien were the last winners of the IIBC men’s and women’s world indoor championships.
*Alison Merrien (Guernsey) & *Stewart Anderson (Scotland) bt Lara Reaney & *Gary Kelly (Ireland) 10-1, 14-3;
Claire Anderson & Mike Stepney (Scotland) bt Colleen Piketh & Jason Evans (South Africa) 5-8, 8-6, 1-0.
*Alison Merrien (Guernsey) & *Stewart Anderson (Scotland) bt Claire Anderson & Mike Stepney (Scotland) 7-8, 8-6, 1-0.
*Stewart Anderson (Scotland) bt Wattana Kadkhunthod 7-13, 10-5, 1-0;
Ian Merrien (Guernsey) bt Arthur Lam (Hong Kong) 6-6, 10-2;
Robert Chisholm (Wales) bt Zoher Motiwalla (Singapore) 12-6, 10-7;
Jason Evans (South Africa) bt Mark McGreal (Isle of Man) 11-10, 5-9, 1-0;
David Bolt (England) bt Fairus Jabal (Malaysia) 8-7, 7-3;
Mike Stepney (Scotland) bt *Gary Kelly (Ireland) 14-3, 8-4;
Andy Walters (England) bt Andi Duncan (Ireland) 8-8, 9-6;
Hirendra Bhartu (Canada) bt Selwyn Hare (Israel) 11-3, 10-5.
Mike Stepney (Scotland) bt Hirendra Bhartu (Canada) 9-3, 10-10;
Andy Walters (England) bt David Bolt (England) 7-10, 7-4, 1-0;
*Stewart Anderson (Scotland) bt Robert Chisholm (Wales) 12-6, 12-4;
Jason Evans (South Africa) bt Ian Merrien (Guernsey) 9-9, 7-5.
Draw for tomorrow’s (FRI) semi finals:
*Anderson v Walters; Evans v Stepney.
Sandra Bailie (Ireland) bt Megan Kivlin (Jersey) 13-4, 4-8, 1-0;
Amy Williams (Wales) bt Mariekjie Van den Bergh (Namibia) 12-5, 7-7;
Kerry Packwood (Wales) bt Saskia Schaft (Nederland) 12-1, 10-3;
Devon Cooper (England) bt Ruby Hill (England) 8-5, 6-14, 1-0;
Gloria Ha (Hong Kong) bt Lara Reaney (Ireland)9-4, 5-9, 1-0;
Claire Anderson (Scotland) bt Colleen Piketh (South Africa) 8-7, 5-8, 1-0;
*Alison Merrien (Guernsey) bt Nurul Alyani Jamal (Malaysia) 11-2, 7-5;
Julie Forrest (Scotland) bt Anne Nunes (USA) 13-0, 9-3.
Julie Forrest (Scotland) bt Claire Anderson (Scotland) 9-4, 5-8, 1-0;
Sandra Bailie (Ireland) bt Kerry Packwood (Wales) 7-6, 7-7;
Gloria Ha (Hong Kong) bt *Alison Merrien (Guernsey) 0-10, 8-7. 1-0
Amy Williams (Wales) bt Devon Cooper (England) 3-9, 12-1, 1-0.
Draw for tomorrow’s (FRI) semi finals:
Bailie v Ha; Williams v Forrest.
Report provided by event press liaison officer David Rhys Jones
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