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DAY 1 | Skelton and Stepney hold off Airey/Taylor fightback

Simon Skelton and Mike Stepney were the first pair to reach the quarter-finals of this year’s Open Pairs at the World Indoor Bowls Championships, holding off a spirited fightback from Trevor Taylor and Stuart Airey.

Skelton and Stepney, now in their third year as a partnership, took full control of the opening set over the Carlisle duo, securing it 10-3.

It looked like they were breezing into the last eight, leading 6-2 in the second set with four ends to play, however three consecutive ends in Taylor and Airey’s favour set up a tense end to the contest.

But it was Skelton and Stepney who picked up the vital shot to set up an encounter with either holders Jamie Chestney and Mark Dawes or Mark Burdett and Ben Harris at the quarter-final stage.

Two team changes were required on the opening day following positive Covid tests for England’s William Moulton and USA’s Loren Dion. They were replaced by Wayne Willgress and Scott Edwards, with Willgress partnering Ashley Nethercliffe and Edwards now teaming up with Dean Warmington.

Edwards and Warmington hit the ground running as a partnership, winning the opening set 12-4 against Mervyn King and David Gourlay MBE, before King and Gourlay hit back in the second set to send the match to the first tie-break of the Championships.

The opening two ends of the tie-break were shared, before Edwards enjoyed a fortuitus result after a weighted shot on his final bowl on the final end of the tie-break. Gourlay was unable to draw the shot with his last bowl, which secured passage into the quarter-finals for the new pairing of Warmington and Edwards.

Nethercliffe and Willgress also enjoyed a winning start, comfortably defeating Canada’s father-and-son pairing of Rob and Erik Galipeau.

There was also victory in the preliminary round for Lee Calver and Connor Cinato, as they defeated the Scottish qualifiers Chris McGready and John McHutchison 10-3, 8-4. The English duo will now face Mark Royal and Robert Paxton in the first round.

Friday 7th December – Open Pairs Results
Wayne Wilgress & Ashley Nethercliffe bt Rob & Erik Galipeau 2-0 (10-6, 10-5);
Lee Calver & Connor Cinato bt Chris McGready & John McHutchison 2-0 (10-3, 8-4);
Simon Skelton & Mike Stepney bt Stuart Airey & Trevor Taylor 2-0 (10-3, 7-6);
Dean Warmington & Scott Edwards bt Mervyn King & David Gourlay 2-1 (12-4, 6-10, 2-1)

Saturday 8th January – Schedule (All Open Pairs matches)
10:00am: Stewart Anderson & Darren Burnett v Mark McPeak & Stuart Bennett
2:00pm: Paul Foster MBE & Alex Marshall MBE v Ken Chan & Lyndon Sham
followed by: Mark Dawes & Jamie Chestney v Mark Burdett & Ben Harris
7:30pm: Mark Royal & Robert Paxton v Lee Calver & Connor Cinato

The full schedule and draws for the World Indoor Championships can be found at the following links:

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