Last prepares for biggest match of life

IPSWICH bowler Phillip Last admitted today his “head had been in the clouds” as he prepares for the biggest match of his life.Last faces seventh seed Andy Thomson in a second round David versus Goliath tie at the Potters Holidays World Indoor Bowls Championships tomorrow night.

Nick Garnham

IPSWICH bowler Phillip Last admitted today his “head had been in the clouds” as he prepares for the biggest match of his life.

Last faces seventh seed Andy Thomson in a second round David versus Goliath tie at the Potters Holidays World Indoor Bowls Championships tomorrow night.

After winning a qualifier at Bromley to earn his place among the elite of bowls, the 38-year-old won his first round match at the resort on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, defeating Scotland's John Carswell 9-7 5-6 2-1 in a match that last nine minutes short of two hours.


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He said: “Both sets were very tight. I was behind in the first set but won on the measure, and then had a chance to win the second set but narrowly failed, before I managed to pinch it on the tie-break 2-1.”

Last, who plays indoors for Ipswich and District Indoor Bowls Club and outdoors for Marlborough Bowls Club, said the experience he gained from playing in the Great British Mobility Group Scottish International Open in November held him in good stead this time.

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He lost on a tie break to Mark McMahon in the first round in Perth, but this time came out on top in the best-of-three tie break.

Last, who had tried to qualify for the tournament at Potters for the last five years, said: “It certainly helped. I played quite well and this time I managed to win the tie break rather than lose it.”

Now Last will be playing against Thomson, the Scottish-born England captain, who won the Pairs title at Potters at the weekend.

Thomson, who defeated Suffolk's Mark Royal in the singles final to become Scottish champion, reached the semi-final at Potters last year, before losing to fellow exiled Scot David Gourlay.

Last is under no illusions as to the task he is facing.

“To qualify to get to Potters was the biggest game I had played, but playing against the current Scottish champion and World Pairs champion will be even bigger.

“I hope to enjoy it and to play to the best of my ability. Hopefully he may be below par and there is always a chance I could nick it if it goes to a tie break.”

Unlike footballers, cricketers or rugby players, who are away from home for several weeks taking part in major championships, Last has been back at work in Ipswich since winning his first round match last Wednesday.

Last, who is employed by EDF Energy in their street works department in Fore Hamlet, admitted: “My head has been in the clouds since last Wednesday.

“There were 20 or 30 people there supporting me, some of whom had taken the day off, for my first round match. Hopefully with it being an evening match (start 7.30pm) there will be a few more.

“If I was to be successful I have got another week before the next round as there are four championships going on during the course of the three weeks at Potters.

“I played at the weekend and I am trying to get as much green time as I can at the moment in preparation for Thursday.”

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