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Marshall masters local hero Stone

PUBLISHED: 09:36 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:18 30 June 2010

ALEX Marshall coasted through his opening match in the Potters Holidays World Indoor Singles Championship against Acle's Tim Stone.

The Scotsman, who has won the premier World Bowls Tour title a record five times, later admitted "I can't see why I can't win it again if I play like that.

ALEX Marshall coasted through his opening match in the Potters Holidays World Indoor Singles Championship against Acle's Tim Stone.

The Scotsman, who has won the premier World Bowls Tour title a record five times, later admitted "I can't see why I can't win it again if I play like that."

The 42-year-old world number one, who was beginning his 12th campaign since winning his maiden world crown in the first year at Potters Leisure Resort in 1999, was facing local favourite and qualifier Stone.

Marshall took the opening two ends, but Stone struck back with a triple to draw level. However, the second seed responded by scoring a full house four shots in the next end and went on to win the first set comfortably.

Stone, who celebrated the birth of his first child, son Harry, only hours before winning his first round match last week, edged ahead 3-2 in the second - but again the masterful Marshall showed his superiority by taking the next four ends in a row to claim a 10-6, 7-3 win.

He said: "My goal here at Potters is always to win my first match - which means you've got the all-important 20 rankings points and you're in the tournament. I've been scratching around for most of this season, so I'm definitely happy with the way I played today - and Tim is a quality opponent."

Earlier in the day, Scottish qualifier Stewart Anderson upset Mark McMahon, the 15th seed from Australia, 8-6, 11-5. The highly-rated 24-year-old from Ayrshire will now play Marshall for a place in the quarter-finals.

"Stewart is a fantastic prospect - he was excellent today," said Marshall. "He doesn't seem to fear anybody."

Anderson, the world junior champion from Cumnock in Ayrshire, admitted that his success in reaching last month's Scottish International Open semi-finals as a qualifier had boosted his confidence on the World Bowls Tour.

"I knew I needed to play my best against Mark - though it didn't help that I'd never seen him play before and didn't know what to expect," explained the young Scot. "The crowd were brilliant - they seemed to support everything I did."

Mark McMahon, runner-up in 2004, was making his 21st - and last - appearance in the world championship after announcing his decision to retire before the match.

"I really enjoyed that game - I haven't played against somebody as impressive as that for a long time," said 40-year-old McMahon, from Brisbane. "I leave the Tour with great memories of the world championships - though the achievement of which I am most proud is winning the inaugural International Open in Preston in 1994."

On his match, McMahon added: "Stewart played phenomenal bowls this morning - and could certainly go on and win the title."

Later in the day, England's fifth seed Greg Harlow, from Ely in Cambridgeshire, beat Welsh qualifier Phil Rowlands 7-2, 8-7, and unseeded Scot Darren Burnett overwhelmed Englishman Les Gillett, the 13th seed from Loughborough, 11-2, 8-3.

"After the first few ends, I really got into and felt really comfortable," said Burnett, a 33-year-old policeman from Arbroath. "But it was the first competitive game I've played for some time after being knocked out for almost two weeks by Swine Flu.

"It was a huge game for both of us - with 20 ranking points at stake.

"It was nice to play well and win," added the world No17 who now has every chance of breaking into the top 16 next season. "I've knocked on the door for long enough to make this breakthrough."

Friday (15 January:

9.30am

Ladies World Matchplay Championship, 1st round

Mary Ann Beath (USA) v Janice Gower (ENG)

World Indoor Mixed Pairs Matchplay Championship, quarter-finals

Debbie Stavrou (ENG) & Paul Foster (SCO)

V Kerry Packwood & Jason Greenslade (WAL)

2pm

[1] Ceri Ann Davies & David Gourlay (SCO)

V Ruthy Gilor (ISR) & Andy Thomson (ENG)

World Singles Championship, 2nd round

[11] Kelvin Kerkow (AUS) v [Q] Stephen Chan (HKG)

7.30pm

Ladies World Matchplay Championship, 1st round

Stephanie Crates (ENG) v Dee McSparran (USA)

Saturday (16 January):

9.30am

Ladies World Matchplay Championship, 1st round

Ruthy Gilor (ISR) v Ellen Falkner (ENG)

World Indoor Mixed Pairs Matchplay Championship, quarter-finals

Dee McSparran (USA) & Mark Royal (ENG)

V Alison Merrien (GUE) & Mervyn King (ENG)

2pm

[2] Carol Ashby & Alex Marshall (SCO)

V Sarah Seymour & Greg Harlow (ENG)

World Singles Championship, 2nd round:

[10] Robert Weale (WAL) v John Price (WAL)

7.30pm

Ladies World Matchplay Championship, 1st round

Melanie Cruickshank (SCO) v Kerry Packwood (WAL)


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