BOWLS: World champion beaten in Spalding Open final

World number one Nicky Brett with Spalding players Ruby Hill, Martin Spencer and Graham Smith.
World number one Nicky Brett with Spalding players Ruby Hill, Martin Spencer and Graham Smith.

Mark Royal won the annual Spalding Open singles tournament, beating current world champion Nicky Brett in the final.

A total of 62 bowlers entered the tournament which is part of the national open singles circuit and was played across Tuesday and Wednesday at the Castle Sports Complex.

Ruby Hill

Ruby Hill

With Hughes Electrical generously sponsoring the event, there was a total of £1,800 in prize money up for grabs which attracted some of the best players from across the country.

After a full day’s play, the quarter-final line-up had three Spalding players still going.

But Mathew Orrey and Graham Smith found their opponents on form, losing to the eventual finalists.

Orrey took Brett to a tie-break before losing 2-0 while Smith narrowly lost his tie-break against Royal.

Martin Spencer

Martin Spencer

Ben Wilson continued his good form by beating Tom Holmes 9-1, 5-2 to claim his place in the semis.

Ely’s Ed Elmore was too strong for Thomas Towle, winning in straight sets. The losing quarter-finalists each received £75.

An open draw saw Wilson face Suffolk-based Royal but, despite a valiant effort, Royal took the spoils in straight sets (8-2, 6-2).

Brett’s passage to the final was straight forward as he beat Elmore 9-2, 7-1 to set up a clash of the big guns.

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

Losing semi-finalists each received £150.

A packed crowd watched a high quality final with two of the best players in the world producing a fine display.

In the first set, Brett took a 2-1 lead after five ends before Royal took control, scoring three doubles to take the opener 7-2.

Brett found another gear in set two but the scores were level at 6-6 with two ends left.

Graham Smith

Graham Smith

Brett held his nerve to win both ends and force a tie-break.

Royal showed his class and won the next two ends to take the title and the £900 prize money. Brett settled for runner-up and £300.

Tournament organiser Graham Smith thanked all the markers, umpires and helpers for their assistance in making the tournament another great success, including his daughter Beth for providing the background and walk-on music for the players. Thanks also to Graham on behalf of the Spalding Bowls Club committee for running the tournament.