BOWLS: Surprise package Doig wins Westlecot Open

Swindon Advertiser: Greg Harlow in action Greg Harlow in action

TOM DOIG was a surprise but worthy winner of the fourth annual Westlecot Indoor Open Singles Tournament at the Old Town club last weekend.

The Cyphers, Beckenham player beat another surprise packet, teenager Ryan Atkins (Malvern Hills), 2-1 (6-4, 5-7, 2-0) in a hard-fought final, having to come from behind to scoop the £1,200 winner’s cheque.

Atkins did however have the consolation of collecting the runners-up prize of £500 for his sterling performances during the tournament.

The fourth Westlecot Open, part of the planetbowls.com singles circuit, was full of surprises with only one of last year’s quarter-finalists getting past the third round (last 16) this time.

Defending champion Brian Lees went out in his second match, losing on a tie break to Mark Sykes (Banbury), the man he beat in last year’s final, while the second Westlecot Open winner - world number nine Mark Royal - fell in his first match to the 2011 winner and ex-England international Danny Denison.

Other early casualties included Andy Moore, James Shillingford, Neil Smith, last season’s England national singles runner-up, Adam Tidby, junior England international BJ Byles and ex-international Gordon Charlton.

After beating Royal, Denison as well as England internationals Shaun Jones and Glenn Skipp went out in round two, while the highest world ranked player in the tournament - Robert Paxton - lost on a tie break to fellow Commonwealth Games player Jamie Chestney in the last 16.

Doig collected some prize scalps on his way to the final including Denison, 2011/12 England national senior and junior singles champion Perry Martin, last year’s Westlecot runner-up Mark Sykes and former world number one Greg Harlow (City of Ely).

Atkins, an Under 18 England international, had a more sedate passage to the last two beating his dad Mark in round two 2-0 (6-4, 6-5) then Welshman Arthur Thompson and Norman Coad, both 2-0.

In the semi-finals he ousted the much-fancied Ian Honnor (Adur, West Sussex) 2-0, to set-up the showdown with Doig.

In the final Atkins settled first and went into a 3-0 lead but Doig fought back well to lead 4-3 and eventually took the first set 6-4 with a single on the seventh and last end.

Atkins again made a quick start in set two going 5-1 up and was not to be denied this time, and though Doig closed the gap the Malvern Hills teenager took the set 7-5 to force a tie break for the £1,200 jackpot.

Doig won the first end of the tie break, taking out Atkins’ shot wood with his last bowl, and in the second nailed the jack early which proved to be the decisive match-winning wood.

This year’s Westlecot Open Singles Tournament was extended into a three-day event with a record entry of 96 players from all over England as well, as Wales, taking part and attracted a top class field - one of the best for a planetbowls circuit tournament.

“The double weekend was another great success,” said Westlecot indoor chairman Jeff Nichols.

“We would obviously like to thank principle sponsor Dexion as well as local firms Hillier Funeral Services, Bombay Lounge, Monahans and K & EJ Crump for their support or else we could not have staged such a prestigious tournament and attracted a top class field.

“Thanks is due as well to the organising committee for all their hard work and of course the umpires and markers.

“There were no delays, it was well organised and kept to time - the efforts from everyone involved paid great dividends.

“The fourth Westlecot Open Singles sponsored by Dexion was an unqualified success again, and we hope to repeat the tournament next year.”

RESULTS Quarter-finals: Greg Harlow (City of Ely) beat Jamie Chestney (Exonia) 2-0 (6-5, 7-5); Ryan Atkins (Malvern Hills) beat Norman Coad (Bodmin) 2-0 (9-2, 8-4); Tom Doig (Cyphers, Kent) beat Mark Sykes (Banbury) 1.5-0.5 (9-4, 5-5); Ian Honnor (Adur, W Sussex) beat Tony Marshment (Dartford) 2-0 98-2, 11-0).

Semi-finals: Atkins beat Honnor 2-0 (6-4, 4-3); Doig beat Harlow 2-0 (5-4, 6-2).

Final: Doig beat Atkins 2-1 (6-4, 5-7, 2-0).

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