Royal loses out in final

Mark Royal's bid for his first World Bowls Tour title came to an end in Perth, Scotland on Saturday, but the Stowmarket star had the satisfaction of playing in his first major final - and collected some valuable ranking points in the process.

Mark Royal's bid for his first World Bowls Tour title came to an end in Perth, Scotland on Saturday, but the Stowmarket star had the satisfaction of playing in his first major final - and collected some valuable ranking points in the process.

In an all-England final of the Great British Mobility Group Scottish International Open, Scots-born Andy Thomson, the England captain - at 52, the oldest player on the World Bowls Tour circuit - defeated 32-year-old Royal, the WBT's youngest player, in straight sets, 11-5, 8-5.

Thomson admitted afterwards that Royal had put him under pressure in the second set, when his drawing skills helped him build up some big counts, but the Anglo-Scot's experience saw him home.

“Twice Mark held counts of three shots, but I've been drawing well all week, and I was able to draw the shot with my last bowl on both occasions,” said Thomson. “If I'd missed, Mark would probably have force me into a tiebreak.”


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Royal, who had beaten the holder Kelvin Kerkow, from Australia, and three-times world champion Paul Foster, from Scotland, on his way to the final, was naturally disappointed, but not downhearted.

“I've reached lots of quarter finals and been involved in two semi finals, and my form - and my performance - this week have filled me with confidence, so that I now feel I have it within me to win a ranking event,” he said.

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“Some players go out to enjoy their first final, and lose because they fail to concentrate,” he added Royal. “I was determined to focus properly, but I didn't really put my game together until the second set.”

It was Thomson who set off in style, racing into an 8-1 lead after five ends, and he was able to close the set down with one end left to play.

Royal was much more comfortable in the second set, leading 3-2 after four ends, and again (after a rare tied end) after five. With two ends left to play, he trailed 5-6, and a tiebreak seemed a real possibility, but Thomson scored two singles to seal a well-deserved victory.

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