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Wednesday at Potters- Dawes books quarter final place

Defending World Indoor Singles champion Mark Dawes booked his place in the quarter-final yesterday (Wednesday), with a hard-fought 9-6 7-7 victory over 16th seed Mike Stepney.

Stepney took an early 3-0 lead, but Dawes hit back with six shots in three ends to take charge of the first set. A single from Stepney reduced the advantage back to two, but the Elgin man went astray on the next dropping another three to leave the world champion well on top.

Stepney grabbed just a single on the next and needing a full house to tie the set, he could only manage one to hand the initiative to Dawes.

The second set proved a cagey affair, with Stepney yet again opening up a small gap at 3-1, only for Dawes to win three ends in a row to lead 6-3.

Sticking three of his green bowls around the pot hauled Stepney level on end seven and he moved one clear moving in to the final end, but despite drawing the shot with his last delivery, Dawes was steer his green bowl just inside the Scot’s to take the match.

“I knew it was going to be a close game with Mike, I’ve known him for years since our junior days,” said Dawes. “The way he started, I thought I’d be playing ten-pin bowling all day, to be honest, playing runner after runner the first few ends. I have never seen anyone start so well.

“But I knew once he missed, I had to get my first bowl in and put him under pressure and fortunately in the first set I did. I managed to scrape the first set and the second could have gone either way, right down to the last bowl.”

Simon Skelton is through to his first quarter-final for 10 years after a nerve-shredding 6-6 6-5 victory over 14th seed Jason Greenslade at Potters.

“I’m delighted to be back in the quarter-final, it’s been a few
years,” said Skelton. “I dropped out the top-16, so had to play a few games just to get here and I’m looking to go further now having lost twice in the semi-final.”

These two wily old campaigners, rather surprisingly, have never met before at Potters and the lure of a quarter-final spot made for a tension-fuelled second set, with both players struggling to bowl with any sort of consistency as nerves took hold in front of a large crowd.

It was virtually singles all the way, with neither player managing to break free, but Greenslade bowled in with his final delivery on the eighth end to hold what could be defining one-shot lead going into the final end.

The Penarth civil servant, though, produced his poorest end of the set, not getting anything within a couple of feet and Skelton, holding shot, needed to bowl in with his final delivery to win the match. That he did, just, but it needed a measure to confirm his victory and passage through to the last-eight.