Long Eaton bowler Simon Skelton beaten in World Indoor Singles Bowls Championship

Simon Skelton came up just short of becoming world champion. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Simon Skelton came up just short of becoming world champion. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Long Eaton bowler Simon Skelton couldn’t hide his disappointed after losing in the final of the World Indoor Singles Bowls Championship.

Skelton went down 5-11 8-6 0-2 to reigning Scottish International Open winner Stewart Anderson, who was claiming his second win in the event.

“I was pleased to push him all the way, but disappointed to lose,” admitted Skelton, who is now provisionally back in the top 16.

“I struggled a bit in the first set, but I was happy with the way I played in the second, although I couldn’t seem to string two ends together, so I was having to match Stewart on the long jacks and he was dominating those ends,.

“I was pleased to get myself back into the second set, and the tie-break ends could have gone either way, but Stewart just managed to get over the line.

“I went through a bad spell, like all players do, had a few bad results and injuries, and I am here to win it this year.

“I am not bothered about being in the top 16. Bowls is not as important to me now as it used to be and I don’t feel the pressure as much.”

The unseeded Skelton had confounded everyone in reaching his first-ever final in the event at Potters and after somehow seeing off Nick Brett in the semi-final, he was certainly going to prove a tough nut to crack for Anderson, who was firm favourite going into the showpiece.

He started slowly and soon fell 3-0 behind, but picked up three in two ends to draw level, but Anderson picked up a single and treble to move four ahead and never really looked in any danger for the rest of the set.

Unbowed, though, Skelton dug in early on in the second set, collecting an early treble, before a single out him 4-0 up. Anderson roared back to level the scores, picking up four shots across three right ends and the pair traded singles across the next five ends to leave Skelton one shot ahead doing into the last. Needing just to win the end to prolong the match, he clenched his fists in delight after picking up a single and then it was into three-end lottery territory.

He then produced a superb opening drawer to put the pressure firmly on Anderson, and after he missed with a drive, he struck again with his next weighted delivery and although Skelton bowled in with his next, Anderson produced a top quality drawer to take a 1-0 lead.

The second end was virtually the same, with Skelton getting in first, but again Anderson blasted him off, with his opponent drawing within two feet to lie shot, again. Anderson went wide on the backhand and the expression on the ninth seed’s face suggested he wasn’t going to get in, but his red bowl just touched off the green shot to win him the end and the match, and boy did he celebrate, running down the rink and punching the air in delight.