BOWLS TRIO Phil Gregory, Neil Smith and Mike Titcombe from the Westlecot indoor club all missed out on landing the first prize jackpot at the Open Singles Circuit (OSC) inaugural Masters tournament staged last Sunday in Dorset at Dolphin IBC (Poole).

Gregory and Smith were knocked out of the competition by England indoor international, and world No.7 Jamie Chestney, while Titcombe made a swift first round exit.

A prize fund of £2,000 was put up for the winner with s further £2,800 to be split between the remaining competitors.

The cash incentive consequently attracted a field of 43, which included five of the top 18 in the 2018/19 world rankings.

Westlecot’s Mike Titcombe was the first of the local contingent to be eliminated going down 2-0 in sets in the first round to fellow Westlecot player Phil Gregory (9-4, 8-4).

It was the start of brilliant run in Poole for Gregory, who saw his hopes of hitting the two grand jackpot halted by Chestney after blitzing all in front of him to reach the first OSC Masters final.

On the way to the final Gregory had beaten Titcombe then in round two beat world ranked No.18 Scott Edwards (Oxford City and County) drawing the first set 5-5 but taking the second 10-5 for a 1.5-0.5 win.

Gregory enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 (6-3, 7-5) quarter-final win over Ross Marshall before being taken to the wire by England indoor international and world outdoor triples gold medallist Jamie Walker (Northampton).

Gregory lost the first set 3-10 but hitback taking the second 7-4 to set-up a pulsating tie breaker where the players swapped shots with regularity before Gregory edged it 2-1 to reach the final.

However his run was then halted as he went down two sets to nil in the final to Devonshire’s Jamie Chestney.

In the other semi-final Westlecot’s Neil Smith saw his hopes of adding to his Moonfleet (Weymouth) success in Dorset a few weeks earlier also halted by Chestney in a tie breaker.

Smith still collected £500 as a beaten semi-finalist, though.

He said: “It was a great weekend with a class field of players and six of the world’s top 20.

“My best game was probably the one I lost in the semi final, I had to hang on against the onslaught Jamie (Chestney) threw at me, delighted to take it to the tie break and could have won it 2-0.

“Westlecot colleague Phil (Gregory) played really well all day.

“He couldn’t quite handle Jamie (Chestney) in the final but was really pleased with the way he played.”

The 2018 OSC Grand Final is scheduled for Potters Leisure Resort over the weekend of November 23-25.

The Grand Final is followed the next weekend by the annual Westlecot OSC tournament on the Old Town indoor green.