First match was between the Poole qualifier Shaun Jones and Norfolk’s Mervyn King. Jones had come through tough qualifiers held at Dolphin Indoor Bowls Club earlier in this season and said that he was really looking forward to the Championships. King is seeded at No 11 for the Open Singles.
It was King that started well in the first set, taking full advantage as Jones took a few ends to settle in on the portable rink. Mervyn was 4,2 up at the completion of end four and was living up to his reputation of the best draw bowler on the circuit. No matter what Jones put down it was King that always seemed to have that final draw bowl to take the shot. End five and Mervyn took full advantage and scored a full house of four shots followed rapidly with two double counts in ends six and seven to take the first set 12,2.
Second set and this time it was Jones that had now settled in, felt a bit more comfortable in front of the crowd and camera’s and started to play withn more confidence in his step. It was Jones that took the first 4 ends with great bowls precision and was five shots up going into end five. Giving Mervyn a great battle over the next three ends it was Mervyn that managed to take three singles in succession but it was Jones in end eight that sealed the set as he took a great three off the King to take the set 3,8.
Tie break and first end was tight between them, last bowl of the end each and King was holding shot with a gap of about 9inches and Jones played a drive, slightly offline and caught the edge of a front bowl and drove his short bowl to take the shot leaving the merest of gaps. King had last bowl and elected to use his draw skill and made the crowd gasp as he calmly drew shot. Second end and yet again Jones was good, but not good enough for the killer draw from King and it was King that took the second end and match. 12,2- 3,8 – 2,0.