Ashby and Marshall win World Mixed Title

CAROL Ashby and Alex Marshall prevailed in Sunday's first all-Scottish final of the Potters Holidays World Indoor Mixed Pairs Matchplay Championship, deposing defending champions Ceri Ann Davies and David Gourlay.

CAROL Ashby and Alex Marshall prevailed in Sunday's first all-Scottish final of the Potters Holidays World Indoor Mixed Pairs Matchplay Championship, deposing defending champions Ceri Ann Davies and David Gourlay.

Davies and Gourlay, looking to become the first pair to win the trophy three years in a row, set off to a strong start, leading most of the way through the first set before clinching it by a three-shot margin in the 11th and final end.

The balance of power changed in the second set when Ashby, the 42-year-old from Livingston, making a record fourth appearance in the final, and the record five-time world singles champion Marshall built up a 6-1 lead.

The favourites reduced the deficit to 3-6, and in the crucial eighth end held two shots as Marshall stepped up to deliver his last bowl. The world number one duly shattered the defending champions' hopes, pulling out a double for the greens which increased the second seeds' lead to 8-3.

After winning the set to take the match into a best-of-three-ends tie-break, Marshall clinched the first end, then confidently delivered a stunning winner in the second to convert two down to a title-winning bowl.

"I'm absolutely drained," said Marshall after the 6-9, 10-5, 2-0 victory which took more than two hours.

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"It was a weird game - lots of good ends but lots of scrappy ones too," added the 42-year-old from Tranent in East Lothian who is celebrating his eighth world title success at Potters since 1999.

"They got off to a good start, and when we lost the first set I spoke to Carol and agreed that we would think of the next set as the start of a new game.

"I played a lot better in the second set, and Carol played some good bowls."

The win will ensure that Marshall and Ashby will defend the title next year.

"That's good, as we'll get to play in red next year - all the way through!" said Ashby, who won the title with Welshman John Price in 2005 and 2006.

The runners-up were understandably disappointed with the outcome.

"The most disappointing thing is that we may not play with each other again," said Gourlay, the former world number one from Glasgow.

"I may not ever play here again," added Davies, the 31-year-old from Stirling who made headlines two years ago when she became the first woman to reach the third round of the 'open' world singles championship as a qualifier.

"Once we'd won the first set, we felt really confident," said Gourlay. "But Alex played some really big bowls."

In the semi-finals earlier in the day, Davies & Gourlay beat Debbie Stavrou and Paul Foster 5-7, 9-4, 2-1, while Ashby & Marshall defeated Dee McSparran and Mark Royal 11-1, 8-6.

Monday schedule

10am

Ladies World Matchplay Championship, quarter-finals

[1] Debbie Stavrou (ENG) v Ruthy Gilor (ISR)

1.00pm

World Singles Championship, 3rd round:

[11] Kelvin Kerkow (AUS) v [6] David Gourlay (SCO)

Darren Burnett (SCO) v [4] Paul Foster (SCO)

7.30pm

Ladies World Matchplay Championship, quarter-finals

[2] Alison Merrien (GUE) v Janice Gower (ENG)

Tuesday schedule

10am

Ladies World Matchplay Championship, quarter-finals

Sarah Seymour (ENG) v Dee McSparran (USA)

1pm

World Singles Championship, 3rd round:

[Q] Stewart Anderson (SCO) v [2] Alex Marshall, MBE (SCO)

Hirendra Bhartu (CAN) v [16] Jonathan Ross (IRE)

7.30pm

Ladies World Matchplay Championship, quarter-finals

Carol Ashby (ENG) v Kerry Packwood (WAL)