Defending Champion Greg Harlow faced a tough opponent in his first round match at the Dewars Centre in Perth for the Co op Funeralcare Scottish International Open 2017, writes Janice Gower.
World ranked No 1, Harlow, faced World Ranked No 17 Neil Furman of America.
The first set saw Harlow on form and looked like his title defence start was going to go without a hitch as he won it 9-0.
But Furman stayed calm and fought his way back to win the second set 9-4 to give spectators a thrilling tie break.
On the first end Neil put a yard short lead in to have Harlow draw a two inch bowl.
Furman failed with a runner and Harlow puts a blocker in. Furman missed again and it Harlow took the first end.
The second end Harlow played a great bowl only to see Furman strike and the jack go on the re-spot.
Furman, with one bowl to play, drew shot and took the game, and the defending champion, into the final end.
On the final end Furman lead with a five feet short bowl. Harlow drew within six inches, Furman hit and removed the bowl.
Harlow put it back and that bowl stayed for a relieved Harlow to move into the second round tomorrow where he will face his good friend Mervyn King.
Last year’s runner up Paul Foster MBE faced England’s Chris Gale in his first round game and managed to get through 9-4, 8-3. Foster faces England’s Mark Dawes in his next round.
The final game on today featured six times World Champion Alex Marshall MBE and England’s David Bolt.
What a thrilling first set the crowd at the Dewar’s Centre and live on World Bowls Tour streaming and BBC TV were treated to. Punch for punch the set came down to the final end with the score all square. It was Bolt who took the final end and the first set.
A captivated audience saw the second set go the same way as set one and punch for punch again.
End five and with Marshall leading 4-3 and holding 3 shots with a bowl to play, Marshall played a back bowl and Bolt pulled up short with his final delivery.
The next end Bolt scored one to make the score 7-4.
Two more shots to Marshall sent the game to a tie break.
First end and first bowl a toucher from Marshall. Bolt strikes and misses. When the dust settles Marshall takes the first end.
The second end and it’s Bolt who starts with a toucher. Marshall hits the jack into the ditch and holds shot. Marshall takes the tie break 2-0 and sets up a second round game against Les Gillett.
10.30am Jamie Chestney v Andy Thomson MBE, 1pm Greg Harlow v Mervyn King, Perry Martin v Michael Stepney and Mark Dawes and Paul Foster MBE.