Defending Champion, Mark Dawes from Blackpool up against the big man from Elgin, Michael Stepney, in his first year in the top 16. This is a big match for both of them and an eagerly anticipated one for the packed audience in the arena.
It was nip and tuck in the first set between the two players, both playing great draw bowls and also both not afraid to attack the head when needed. Stepney took the first two ends with three shots and was putting Dawes under great pressure but the defending champion remained calm and cool and squarely put the pressure back onto Stepney as he took six shots off Stepney in the next three ends, set score 6,3 to Dawes in the fifth end. End six and it was Stepney with a great bowl to take single but Dawes again responded on the next end with a count of three. Stepney still fought back and took the next end with a single and again in the ninth looked as if he was going to possibly draw the set but Dawes only allowed him a single. Set to Dawes 9,6.
Second set and both players were on top form, end four it was 3,3. Dawes took ends five and six with a single and a double to go 6,3 up but again Stepney came right back at him with a three count on and seven to level the set at 6 all. With a further single in end eight it was Stepney in the lead by one shot. Into end nine it was Stepney that lay shot, Dawes played a great timer and came away holding shot, Stepney then drew shot and Dawes had his last bowl to try to level the score and take the match. He played his bowl, line was right, it approached the head and for one minute it looked as if it might just roll through – it did not and came to a rest and it was shot to Dawes, set was levelled at 7,7 and Dawes goes through to the quarter finals to face Scotland’s Stewart Anderson.