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Bowls: Jackson and Weale in final

PUBLISHED: 11:39 25 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:51 03 July 2010

BRITONS Billy Jackson and Robert Weale will contest the final of the Potters Holidays World Indoor Singles Championship after straight sets victories in yesterday's (Saturday) semi-finals of the flagship World Bowls Tour event at Potters Leisure Resort in Norfolk.

BRITONS Billy Jackson and Robert Weale will contest the final of the Potters Holidays World Indoor Singles Championship after straight sets victories in yesterday's (Saturday) semi-finals of the flagship World Bowls Tour event at Potters Leisure Resort in Norfolk.

Englishman Jackson, the 12th seed who made his breakthrough by beating Scotland's three-time champion Paul Foster in the last sixteen round, set up his first ever appearance in a WBT final by beating former Lincolnshire county team-mate Simon Skelton, the 16th seed, 8-3, 9-7.

Jackson was in fine form, building up a 5-1 lead in the first set, then striking a glorious triple in the second end of the next set to regain the lead. At seven-all with two ends to play, the popular Tour player picked up two singles in a row to clinch the win.

"At last," said the jubilant 38-year-old from Lincoln. "It's a massive feeling of relief to finally make a final - I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

"At the beginning of the tournament I was wondering if I'd keep my place in the top 16 - now I can look forward to a possible place in the top eight!

"It's incredible - especially as I've lost here in previous years to people like Alex Marshall and John Price, both of whom have won the title."

Skelton, the 36-year-old from Nottingham in his first season in the world's top 16, was close to forcing the match into a tie-break: "I thought I'd got it with my last bowl - I thought it was perfect - I was only a fraction of an inch from getting the two that I needed.

"He didn't give me any room in the first set - I was always a yard short with my first bowl - but I played a lot better in the second," added Skelton.

"It's not easy playing against a friend - we grew up together in Lincolnshire and he now plays at the outdoor club in Scunthorpe where I first started. But you're so switched on when you get onto that rink.

"Overall I'm pleased with my run here - it's nice to come and perform, especially in front of a lot of people. It does mean a lot," concluded Skelton, after his second semi-final defeat in two years.

Robert Weale is one match away from becoming the first Welshman to win the title twice. The 2000 champion came to life midway through the first set against Australian Mark McMahon with a sensational four-shot end which turned the game.

Weale went on to beat the 14th seed, playing in his first tournament of the season, 10-4, 8-3.

"It's not really sunk in yet - it's been a long time since 2000! My form hasn't been good recently on the portable rink - but elsewhere it's been fine," said the 45-year-old from Hereford.

"It's come just at the right time - whatever happens now is a bonus. I've done well to get this far. If I lose, I won't see it as a failure."

When asked how different this final would be to his last nine years ago, Weale replied: "I've been there before, which Billy hasn't. It's a big occasion and I'm sure I'll be nervous and tense.

"I just need to get a good start."

McMahon was disappointed with the way I played: "I was certainly not as consistent as I had been earlier in the tournament. I felt a bit uncomfortable today - but I got a good start," explained the 39-year-old from Brisbane.

"When I dropped that four, it was a big end for Robert."

Sunday (25 Jan) schedule:

2.30pm:

World Indoor Singles Championship FINAL:

[12] Billy Jackson (ENG) v [10] Robert Weale (WAL)


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