Royal into the semis

BOWLSStowmarket ace Mark Royal, who will play in the semi-finals of the Welsh International Open at Llanelli today, has achieved a long-held ambition by establishing himself a place in the top eight of the WBT world ranking list.

BOWLS

Stowmarket ace Mark Royal, who will play in the semi-finals of the Welsh International Open at Llanelli today, has achieved a long-held ambition by establishing himself a place in the top eight of the WBT world ranking list.

After reaching the final of the Scottish International Open in Perth in December, Royal's exploits in Wales this week have given him enough points to finish the winter campaign in eighth place or better.

“That means I qualify automatically for a place in the World Mixed Pairs Match Play event at Potters Leisure Resort next January - and for the World Match Play singles in Sheffield in July,” said a delighted Royal yesterday.

“It's what I've been aiming at for a while, and it's very satisfying to think that I have done it at last,” he added.

Royal came through a thrilling quarter-final to beat former Hong Kong star Mark McMahon, who now lives in London, 10-9, 8-11, 2-1. Royal led 10-5 with two ends to play in the first set but only prevailed by a single shot.

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In the secondhe led 7-1 after four ends but McMahon scored ten shots without reply to send the match into a tiebreak.

McMahon ditched the jack spectacularly to win the first extra end but Royal kept his head to win the next two ends, and will now play England's Les Gillett in this morning's semi-final.

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