Davies misses out on bowls double

LESS than 24 hours after successfully retaining the Potters Holidays World Indoor Mixed Pairs Matchplay Championship title in Norfolk, Welsh-born Ceri Ann Davies failed in her bid to repeat her success in the Ladies World Matchplay Championship when she lost in Monday's quarter-finals of the World Bowls Tour event at Potters Leisure Resort.

LESS than 24 hours after successfully retaining the Potters Holidays World Indoor Mixed Pairs Matchplay Championship title in Norfolk, Welsh-born Ceri Ann Davies failed in her bid to repeat her success in the Ladies World Matchplay Championship when she lost in Monday's quarter-finals of the World Bowls Tour event at Potters Leisure Resort.

The 30-year-old defending champion, now based in Scotland and expecting her first child in April, went down 11-6, 9-1 to Alison Merrien, the reigning World Cup champion from Guernsey.

"It went better than I expected - and, obviously, she was the one to beat," said Merrien.

"It's the best I've ever played on the portable rink. When I came here, my target was to get to the semi-finals, to guarantee myself a place in next year's field," added the 34-year-old.


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"This is one of the best events around - all the best players are here. It's good to play with people from other countries."

Merrien is an experienced indoor and outdoor player. "But I feel I'm a better indoor player," conceded Merrien, now in the semi-finals for the first time.

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"Alison beat me fair and square," admitted the top seed. "She was brilliant - her first two bowls were absolutely fantastic. I had some good ends but she was better than me.

"I put myself under pressure. If she'd gone off, I might have had a chance.

"By retaining the Mixed Pairs title (with David Gourlay), I achieved what I came to do. Even though I lost today, I really enjoyed myself," Davies concluded.

Merrien will face twice former champion Carol Ashby tomorrow for a place in the final. The now Edinburgh-based English player beat Scot Claire Johnston 10-1, 5-6, 2-0 to claim her sixth semi-final place in seven years.

"I've haven't played much bowls since moving (from Eastbourne) to Scotland," Ashby confessed later. "I played better than I thought I would.

"I'm really not sure what my future in bowls is - I probably won't play again this season. But I do enjoy coming here to Potters - it's the highlight of the season," added the 2003 and 2004 champion.

Event newcomer Sarah Seymour made it through to the semi-finals after upsetting New Zealand's Desiree Lambert, a semi-finalist last year, in straight sets. The reigning WIBC World Champion from Ely in Cambridgeshire romped to an 11-2, 10-3 win over the Kiwi from Palmerston North.

Hopes of an all-Ely semi-final were dashed in the final match of the day when last year's runner-up Debbie Stavrou beat English compatriot Ellen Falkner.

Stavrou, 35, from High Wycombe, took the first set 10-5 and opened up a 2-0 lead in the second. But Ely star Falkner, winner of the title in 2005 and 2006 and hoping to reach the final for the fifth time, regained control in the second to force a tie-break.

The best-of-three ends affair went the full distance, with Falkner finally falling to the pressure by failing to clinch a straightforward draw with her final bowl.

"It was all Debbie in the first set, and all Ellen in the second, then I just didn't capitalise on chances in the tie-break - that's how I would sum up the match," said a disconsolate Falkner after her 10-5, 3-10, 2-1 defeat.

RESULTS

Ladies World Matchplay Championship Quarter-finals:

Alison Merrien (GUE) bt [1] Ceri Ann Davies (SCO) 11-6, 9-1

Carol Ashby (ENG) bt Claire Johnston (SCO) 10-1, 5-6, 2-0

Sarah Seymour (ENG) bt Desiree Lambert (NZL) 11-2, 10-3

[2] Debbie Stavrou (ENG) bt Ellen Falkner (ENG) 10-5, 3-10, 2-1

FIXTURES

Tuesday (Jan 20) schedule:

10am

Ladies World Matchplay Championship, semi-final:

Alison Merrien (GUE) v Carol Ashby (ENG)

2pm

World Indoor Singles Championship, 3rd round:

[3] David Gourlay (AUS) v [14] Mark McMahon (AUS)

[13] Les Gillett (ENG) v [4] Jason Greenslade (WAL)

7.30pm

Ladies World Matchplay Championship, semi-final:

Sarah Seymour (ENG) v [2] Debbie Stavrou (ENG)

Wednesday (Jan 21) schedule:

10am

World Indoor Singles Championship, 3rd round:

[7] Mervyn King (ENG) v [10] Robert Weale (WAL)

1.45pm

Ladies World Matchplay Championship Final followed by:

World Indoor Singles Championship, 3rd round:

[15] Jonathan Ross (IRE) v [2] Greg Harlow (ENG)

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