BOWLS: Smith stuns world number one in Desborough Open
6:00am Saturday 2nd March 2013 in Latest News
NEIL Smith won the Planetbowls.com Desborough Open Singles tournament as he beat world number one Greg Harlow in an absorbing final to record one of his finest victories.
The Westlecot indoor bowler beat the City of Ely player 2-1 on a tie break after the players had been locked together at 1-1 in sets.
In the first seven ends of the final Smith maintained his fine form from the semi-finals, drawing very well to put Harlow under pressure.
Smith scored a three on the third end and followed with a two to go 5-2 up and sealed the set with a pair of twos on the sixth and seventh ends for an easy 9-3 win.
Former world champion Harlow, the current world number one, fought back to lead the second set 7-3 after five ends, but the Westlecot indoor star hit back with a three to cut the gap to 7-6.
On the seventh and last end, Smith held game but Harlow drew shot on a measure.
In the tie breaker, Smith’s first of the day, Harlow took the honours on the first end.
Smith hit back to take the second after the City of Ely player was holding three, but Smith split the head and followed through onto the jack to make the score 1-1.
The deciding end saw Smith hold shot but Harlow killed the end. On the replayed end, Smith again held shot and Harlow missed three attempts handing Smith a hard-fought 9-3, 5-7, 2-1 victory and the top prize of £1,000.
Harlow, despite losing in the final, pocketed £500.
A delighted Smith said: “I am overjoyed to finally win a tournament after so many close misses and to beat Greg in the final is the icing on the cake.”
On a very busy but successful Sunday, Smith opened up at Desborough (Maidenhead, Berks), with a very comfortable 2-0 (9-4, 11-1) win over Danny Macro (Watford).
In the next round the Westlecot star produced another fine performance to thrash Westlecot Open winner Brian Lees, 2-0 ( 9-0, 6-2), and followed that up with 1.05-0.5 (9-2, 6-6) success over Barwell’s Peter Hobbs as he came from 6-4 down in the second set with a two on the last end to tie the set and claim victory.
The quarter-finals saw Smith beat City of Ely player Andrew Ware 2-0 (8-2, 7-1) and then in the semi-finals thump Banbury’ s Mark Sykes, the Westlecot Open runner-up, 2-0 (8-1, 8-2) to book his place in the final against England international Harlow.
The win moves Smith up into the top five in the planetbowls.com rankings list and with only four events to go, a place in the Erewash Grand Finals featuring the top 32 players in the rankings.