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Harlow crashes out on first day at Potters

PUBLISHED: 07:16 05 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:47 06 July 2010

David Rhys-Jones

The WBT world indoor bowls championships got off to a dramatic start at Potters Leisure Resort when the highly-rated number four seeds, Nick Brett and Greg Harlow, were beaten in straight sets in the first round of the pairs by two unseeded Australians.

The WBT world indoor bowls championships got off to a dramatic start at Potters Leisure Resort when the highly-rated number four seeds, Nick Brett and Greg Harlow, were beaten in straight sets in the first round of the pairs by two unseeded Australians.

To the disappointment of home supporters, Mark Casey and Brett Wilkie won in straight sets, 6-4, 8-6, thanks in no small measure to the form of Wilkie at skip, who played some awesome conversion shots.

Just a few days before, Casey and Brett were playing in temperatures approaching 40 degrees Celsius, so it has been a bit of a culture shock for them to swap the warmth of Queensland for the snow and ice of East Anglia.

Brett may have had the edge over Casey at lead, though the Commonwealth Games gold medallist played some effective bowls, especially in the second set - and Harlow did his best with some good drawing and driving.

When he left the rink, Harlow said: “Brett (Wilkie) just played a few too many of those perfect bowls, and there are times when you just have to applaud and say 'well bowled' - They were always going to be hard to beat, and, to be honest, it was a tough draw for both pairs.”

The Australians opened up a 6-2 lead, and were happy to drop two singles to close out the first set, then, with England 6-5 ahead in the second set, managed to collect three successive singles. Wilkie, who won the world outdoor Champion of Champions singles title in Ayr in July, seemed to be able to play with just the right weight, and, on the very last end, he took a bold decision to drive an English bowl out of the head to restrict Harlow's chances.

“We needed two shots to force an extra end, and there was a slim chance of driving their two bowls out, or taking the jack through to the ditch,” said Harlow. “But my bowl missed the target by a fraction, and that was that.”

Number eight seeds Richard Morgan and Les Gillett thumped New Zealand qualifiers Phil Bennett and Geoff Wilson 10-1, 11-3.

Norfolk's Mervyn King makes his entry today when he and Kelvin Kerkow begin the defence of their pairs crown against Aussie qualifiers Andrew Barker and Michael Stepney.

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