Up first here in the International Arena at the ‘Just’ 2018 World Indoor Championships it was the turn of the local man, World No.1 Greg Harlow to face up to a young rising star, England International Martin Puckett.
It was very apparent right at the start the Puckett was in the zone as he brushed aside Harlow’s bowls with some great bowls to hold down Harlow’s opening in the start in the match for the first three ends to just three singles. Pucket responded with a double and a single and seemed unfazed with Harlow’s opening. Taking another 3 shots in the next two ends Harlow increased his first set score to 6,3 by the seventh end. Puckett dug in deep and produced some outstanding bowls to take the next two ends with doubles and the set at 6,7.
Harlow now had a battle as ne needed to take the second set, force a tie break and win that to stay in the event – on the other hand, young Puckett had to win the second set for a resounding match win! Puckett opened up with two superb singles, Harlow dug in deep and you could physically see the concentration on his face with every bow and he too the next three ends with a triple and two singles. Puckett managed to take end six with a double but it was Harlow that closed off the set with a single on end eight and polished it off with a triple on the 9th to take the set 9,4.
The tie break loomed and again it was Puckett that whisked the first end away from Harlow, Harlow responded on the next end with a great bowl and it was all down to the last end. Harlow took a few seconds stood on the portable debating his strategy and then set a deliberate short mat on the portable. First bowl 6 inches from the jack and Puckett drew shot bowl. Harlow responded and drew it off, Puckett was only just outside and Greg drew another. Puckett tried a timer but missed and Harlow put in a cover bowl. Puckett had his last bowl and played a slight runner which only just missed by a whisker and it was Harlow’s match.