The last of the first round singles matches was between Elgin’s Michael Stepney, a recent newcomer into the top 16, and Cumbrian Gary Smith who is just outside the top 16 and looking to gain entry to the top squad. Neither of these players is a complete stranger to the portable rink and both players needed to win to gain valuable ranking points.
The first set saw both struggling a little to get to grips with and leaving too much space round the jack to start with. It was Smith that took five shots in the first two ends but then Stepney just found a little something and he took all the spaces given over the next five ends to lead 9,5 at the finish of the seventh end. Smith scrabbled around and managed to pick up a single in the eight end but it was Stepney that took the final end for the set. 10,6.
Second set and this time it was Stepney that took a three count in end one but then the wheels came well and truly off and it was Smith’s turn as he took the rest of the ends and closed the end on the seventh at 3,12. Then it was tie break and again it was not too pretty and Smith took the first end, with Stepney taking the next two ends for tie break and match to go into the second round.