The first quarter final of the Co-op Funeralcare International Open here at Newton Hall Holiday Park in Blackpool got off to a flying start with Scotland’s David Gourlay, up against England’s Mark Royal. With just a small crowd in first thing due to closed roads and travel as the cold weather and snow settled back in in the North it was a cost affair! Into set one and it was Gourlay that settled in well. Playing millimetre precision bowls Royal found himself well and truly against it as Gourlay just seemed to place each bowl with military precision. Royal got a single in the first end and then that was it as Gourlay just outplayed a slightly bemused Royal. At one point it was if Royal said ” just what do I have to do” as no matter what Royal put near the jack it was Gourlay that then beat it. Royal did not get another shot and the set went to Gourlay 1,10. The score just did not reflect the bowls in that set.
Set two and again Gourlay was a mean machine but this time Royal had finessed his draw and was giving Gourlay a hard time. By end six the score was 5,6 to Gourlay. End seven and it was Royal that made a small mistake, played one loose bowl which allowed Gourlay to capitalise on the head and take a triple off Royal taking the scoreline to 5,9 to Gourlay. This gave Royal a massive hill to climb and in end eight with set down, Gourlay holding a double, Royal had two bowls left - he played a runner and was on target but the jack went almost out to the strings and with his last bowl Royal held a single but space for Gourlay. Gourlay drew the final shot and it was game over 5,10.