Saturday 25th January
Well, you don’t see that every day, indeed we have not seen it for 3 years since it was introduced. During the second set in last nights’ match between Jonathan Ross and Mervyn King, Jon won £4000 for getting 4 touchers in a single end. This incentive was introduced 3 years ago and was won in the first tournament after its introduction by Robert Paxton. The rule only applies to Quarter-Final stages onwards of televised tournaments run by WBT. The 4 touchers must occur in one end and be chalked as touchers by the marker. If you are not sure, a toucher is a bowl that comes into contact the jack after it has been delivered. The Marker will spray a little chalk mark onto the bowl to indicate that it is a toucher.
Later in the evening after another disappointing Bingo session, we spotted the actor Shaun Williamson (Barry from Eastenders). Shaun is a great supporter of bowls and has appeared a couple of times at tournaments in the past. He is a great guy and it was good to see him at Potters.
So it was the penultimate day and it is Semi-Finals day. First on this morning was a junior final. Young bowlers from local clubs compete throughout the season to earn a place in a final played on the portable rink in front of a packed crowd. It is fabulous to watch the skill these kids have on the bowling green and it is an inspiration to all youngsters to achieve what they do. It also helps the image of our sport to have young talented players such as these and the new World Ladies Matchplay champion.
The first semi-final this morning was between Darren Burnett and Robert Paxton. A top quality game as you would expect for a place in the Final. Darren came out the winner in a straight sets victory playing arguably the best he has even done at the World Championships.
|An Umpires eye view of the|
rink with Sandra marking
Following this semi-final we welcomed the legend, Willie Wood, on to the rink for a 3 end challenge against Welshman Robert Weale. This game was a Commonwealth Games promotion that the BBC will show during tomorrow’s broadcast. The Commonwealth Games will be hosted by Glasgow in July.
Unfortunately, today we were a man down in the officiating team. Poor Mike Davies is suffering from a DVT and took himself down to the hospital. Luckily we are down to just a couple of games per day and Bryan, Sandra and I will be covering these through to the end now. We wish Mike well and hope to see him back to full strength soon.
This afternoon’s match between Paul Foster and Mervyn King promised to be one of the best of the tournament. Both Mervyn and Paul showed outstanding form to win their Quarter-finals and it was a really hard game to call. It certainly lived up to that. Mervyn was incredible and really didn’t let Paul settle. Paul eventually waved the white flag in the second set and Mervyn progressed to the final to met Darren Burnett.
After this thrilling match we had a short challenge match to launch a new WBT Tournament, “Super-Bowl”. John Price and Andy Thomson took on two of the world best crown green players, Danny Barwise and Chris Brown, in a 9 end match. There was a lot of banter on the rink and with the watching crowd but Andy and John were just too strong for the crowners.
Tonight, after dinner, we have our annual Potters versus WBT game. Us officials and other members of the WBT team play (using that word loosely) a fun roll-up against some of the Potters staff. It’s always good fun and is about the only time I get to put a bowl up on the portable rink. The camera crew are also onsite tonight so we will have a few jars with them in the bar.
Wow, what a day. It has been a bit manic but tomorrow is the big one, the World Final. I will be Marking and Bryan Daly will be Umpiring with Sandra operating the 30 second shotclock. It promises to be a fabulous game and will be live on BBC throughout the afternoon.