By Dominic Picksley
Pat Briscoe provided the first upset of the open singles at the World Indoor Bowls Championships after knocking out eighth seed David Gourlay in the first round.
The Ashford Indoor Club bowler from Dover swept past the 1996 champion in style at at Potters Leisure Resort on Tuesday, enjoying a resounding 10-2 8-5 success, to set up a clash with 2006 winner Mervyn King, who hails from just up the road from the impressive venue at Hopton-on-Sea.
In beating Gourlay, Briscoe duly went one better than his only previous appearance in the event at the International Arena, when he lost in the first round to Jonathan Ross in 2013.
“I was very nervous to start with, but then I just found a bit of form and continued from there,” said Briscoe, who took advantage of the new Professional Bowls Association qualifying rules to book his place in Norfolk at the fourth attempt last autumn.
Previously, members of the PBA had just one chance of qualifying from the various events dotted around the UK, but the rules have been changed this season, meaning players could enter as many times as they wanted.
And that was just as well for Briscoe, who failed to make it through the Belfast, Taunton Deane and Swansea competitions - despite reaching the semi-final in Swansea - before emerging victorious at Lincoln.
He added: “I’ll look forward to playing Mervyn now. We’ve known each other for many years so it should be a good match.”
Briscoe never looked in any danger from the moment he set foot on the mat, steaming into a 9-1 lead after just six ends of the first set before duly earning a one-set advantage.
He then got off to good start in the second, forging 3-0 ahead, with Gourlay reducing the deficit to one, before Briscoe grabbed a vital three-shot count on the sixth end to move four ahead, a deficit which proved too much for Gourlay to bridge.