22 January, 2017
First match of the day here at Potters Resort in the ‘Just’ 2017 World Open Singles Championship, Blackpool Newton Hall’s Janice Gower, one of only three women who sealed a berth in the open singles event proper, did her best to dispose of 2006 champion Mervyn King.
Gower made a slow start in the first set against King. in the first two ends she dropped two doubles and managed to get a single away on the 3rd end against King who had very obviously brought his ‘A’ game to the table with his devastating draw. By the 6th end Gower was 8-2 down and fought hard to take a single on end 7. Into the 8th end and Gower had started to get the best of the draw but then King stopped it dead with an accurate bowl to take a double and took the opener 10-3 with an end to spare.
Into the second set and Gower had the jack in her sights as she played some good opening bowls but again King upped the ante with some top notch draw bowls and it was 3 all on the 4th end. The trouble struck as King rolled Janice out to lay 3 shots – Gower played a weight shot and just missed and King drew another to take a full count of 4 to go 8-3 up. However two successive doubles for Gower put a different perspective on the outcome as she went into the last end only one shot behind looking for a double for the tie break. It was yet again then that King denied her as he calmly removed Gower’s shot bowl and sat beside the jack for a single to take the set 9-7 and match victory. King later said,” Though I took the first set well Janice came right back at me in the second set and I knew I had to play at the top of my game to hold her off getting the second set and forcing the tie break. She had started to play really well and I could have lost that second set if I was not careful”.