Scots bowlers dominate at business end of tournament
For only the fourth time in a WBT event, all four semi-final places are filled by Scots at the Co-operative Funeralcare Scottish International Open
The event in Perth is the first ranking event of the season and goes into its final stages with only David Gourlay, Darren Burnett, Paul Foster and Mike Stepney left standing.
Yesterday, Scotland’s national coach Gourlay led the landslide against twice former winner and world No 2 Nicky Brett, from Cambridge, edging a thriller 8-6, 5-11, 2-0.
Burnett was the second Scot to seal his berth, squaring a hard-fought opening set 7-7 against No 11 seed Les Gillett and then giving a great all-round display to take the second 11-2 with an end to spare.
Reigning world champion Foster had to pull out all the stops against Jamie Chestney. He said later: “I think I stole the first set. Jamie outdrew me and his runners were always on target. He put me under massive pressure.”
Indeed, the eighth end of the opening set was recorded as a “no shot” after a strike from Foster cleared all of the bowls from the rink to leave the score at 6-6 and he claimed the set winner on the last end. In the second, trailing 5-2, he ran out with a 1, 3 and 3 to win 9-5.
Stepney, from Elgin, became the first unseeded player since 2010 to win through to this stage of a ranking event, as the English quarter-final challenge was whitewashed.
Stepney outgunned Norfolk’s Mervyn King 8-4, 10-6, saying later: “I felt relaxed and was happy with my all-round game. I drew well and my hitting got me out of trouble. This was the best game I’ve played here.”
Stepney will be the first in action today against Foster, with Burnett and Gourlay looking for that other final spot. Elgin’s Graeme Donaldson and Darren Weir from Prestwick will battle it out for the Jack High Insurance Scottish Masters title, while Leanne Furye will meet Caroline Brown to decide the women’s title.