It was England’s Robert Paxton up against Daniel Salmon, the Professional Bowls Association qualifier from Wales in the first match of the afternoon here at Potters Resort in the first round of the ‘Just’ 2018 World Indoor Open Singles and it proved to be a nail biting match to watch.
It was the first set and although Paxton got off to a great start with a treble and a double in the first two ends it was Salmon that played exceptionally well in the next two ends to take a single apiece and forced Paxton to knuckle down to top quality bowls. Paxton took a double in end five to make the score 7,2 but Salmon had not given up as he played some wonder bowls to take a double away from Paxton in end six. End seven and eight they took one each and Paxton sealed the first set with a single on end 9 to take the set 9,5
Set two was a magnificent show of bowls to a packed stadium from both players which showed as the score was 5 all on end six. Salmon was playing out of his skin and took a single against an equally well playing Paxton – it was edge of the seat stuff. Paxton then literally swipes a single on end eight. Into end nine and it was Paxton who lay a double for mset and match, Salmon had his last bowl and he played a superb shot to take the shot away from Paxton, Paxton missed by fractions as he played a timed bowl and it was Salmon that took the second set 6,7
Into the tie break and again Paxton held shot, Salmon fired and took the jack into the ditch leaving about 2 foot for Paxton to draw one and Paxton did. Salmon again outdrew Paxton to take the first end. Into the second end and this time it was Paxton’s. Going into the final end it was nip and tuck, Salmon again was down, he played a running bowl with his last to try to move the jack but forgot to nominate a ‘killed end’ – his bowl got the target and indeed did move the jack – but out of bounds and on the respot, after a measure, it was declared to Paxton. A relieved Paxton took the tie break and match. 9,5 – 6,7 – 2,1.