Dougie Vipond presents highlights from the first round of the 2017 Scottish Open, at Dewars Centre in Perth. Commentary is by David Corkill and Paul Mitchell.
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When the air turns colder and the
trees change colour and the leaves
fall to the ground, Perth is a
beautiful city. But if you want a
change in temperature, a short walk
to the Dewars Centre is the place to
be because the worlds best bowlers
are there and they are turning up
hello and a very warm welcome to the
Dewars Centre in Perth for the first
day of our coverage of the
co-operative funeral care Scottish
International Open where we have
highlights of three matches and
stick around because they are all
fantastic. The action got under way
here on Saturday and here is how the
draw looked at the start. We knew
that Mervyn King was through and
Jonathan Ross was knocked out by
Perry Martin. Stewart Anderson went
out to Mike Stepney.
There were some surprises in the
bottom half, Jason Greenslade is out
but Robert Paxton, David Gourlay,
Mark Royal and Nick Brett are all
through to the second round. Let's
turn our attention to the first
match today which was at one
o'clock, Greg Harlow against Neil
Furman. From the US but learning to
play in South Africa, Neil Furman
plays out of the Laguna Beach indoor
club in San Diego and has won nine
national US titles. Consistent and
extremely impressive performances
from Greg Harlow have put him firmly
at world number one. And Harlow
started strongly, taking the first
two ends to build an early 3-0 lead
and we picked it up with commentary
from David Corkill and Paul
COMMENTATOR: Greg Harlow delivers
with barely a whisper, a smooth
The vast majority of the
top players all have very smooth and
relaxed and easy deliveries and it
is very rare you see one of them
have a bump. Ian Bond of course was
one of the few that has managed to
overcome that and be a top-ranked
player and he bumps every bowl but
it makes no difference if you do
Ian Bond a former winner of
this tournament, winning it twice.
He has taken a rest from the tour
events, hopefully he will come back.
The good character and a really good
That is better from Greg.
standards the first two ends were a
bit loose but that is more like it.
I think it is just going to go past
but not much. A lot of people might
have think that Greg would have
played the forehand to try to turn
the jack in round the corner but on
the portable rink, if you get a
couple closed then you'd stay on
that hand. This needs to hurry a
bit. It would have been very useful
if it missed that bowl.
put the pressure on his opponent. He
played in the beautiful surroundings
of Laguna Beach in San Diego.
of Laguna Beach in San Diego.
trying its best to get there but the
difficulty for meal is that the
target bowls are protected by his
own Green one -- for Neil. He does
not have much in terms of playing
heavy to get out of trouble which is
a strength of his game but Greg can
concentrate on trying to put bowls
close to the jack. He is looking
good again for another shot. Just
wants to drift past and he has made
it. It was just a draw here and it's
not pretty because you try to make
sure you're reaching on the forehand
and it's just holds off. If you nip
it in a bit it will hook across very
Ten seconds on the shot clock.
trying to hit this? He is.
going to have to be fortunate here
to push something through.
The follow-through was the key to
that. Rather fortuitous to come
through onto the jack.
It is a strength of his to
play the weight shot, it is usually
something he is pretty accurate
He was looking at being 7-0
down, 4-0 is bad enough.
Harlow went on to win the next four
ends, shutting out Furman from the
first set to take it 9-0 and we
rejoin it with Furman leading 5-0
having taken the first four ends.
COMMENTATOR: All credit to Neil
Furman. The first set was one he
might want to forget about but he
has used it as a practice set and he
has come out very strong in the
second. The first bowl has had a
Normally Greg would attack this on
the backhand and just play the two
bowls off but he has been very
conservative in this match.
have to come the forehand.
a chance. A big chance for the jack.
Well... Unlucky really. He wanted to
move that green bowl further away.
Now, Neil, you have to go with the
You can ignore the jack
here, it is the two red bowls he
wants to come into contact with.
played the previous one on the
forehand so he knows the line to
It's not going to do much help
there. Greg Harlow with a little
turn of the green bowl away.
He is fighting it with the weight.
Did he just overplay it? No, he got
Even less weight than what I
thought to be honest.
It is a
halfway down the rink to look, he
had a feeling he had done it right
and he had.
Will you just draw it or
think about driving on the forehand?
Playing to disturb... Never gave it
a chance. I know that sounds harsh
but you could see almost immediately
he had started it too tight.
forehand drive gone wrong, losing
three and maybe four and all of a
sudden that lead disappears.
This is Greg Harlow for four. He has
kept it very wide, didn't want to
mess with the green bowls at the
He has dropped its down, he
would normally have added that.
little miss but he is on the card
and back competitive in this second
set and it will be interesting to
see what Greg Harlow does with the
length of the white.
players traded singles in the next
two ends and we picked it up again
in the eighth with Furman winning
COMMENTATOR: The winner of this
match will play Mervyn King and that
will be interesting.
Such a good,
steady player, Mervyn King.
He came through against Martin Head
of South Africa without too many
Just under two feet.
Greg, a minimum of one required but
obviously we would like to make it
multiples. Having said that, even if
he scores a two, he still needs to
win the last end unless it is a no
Just in case!
Just in case
anybody is thinking at home that
we're not quite right! There is
always that possibility.
bowlers do like to be accurate.
Loose opening bowl from Neil Furman,
he needs to correct.
And he needs
help with this one, a big gap and
there it goes. Not a bad position,
though. But again, he doesn't want
to lose three or four.
That looked good as well from
backhand and round it comes once
more. -- from the hand.
Here comes the weight. Takes the
jack and it will go out and be on
The bowls are being picked up and
now the jack will be picked up and
you will see where it is put because
it has gone off the side of the
It is one to green and that is
Greg knows he needs this one in
because he can't afford to drop
short on it.
The only thing about being short,
any tap of the jack makes a double.
It would make such a difference.
Neil Furman, final bowl of the end.
He has given a go at this and he's
not far away from the jack. He's got
it. He's middled it. What a
Barring disaster, this will go to a
tie-break because it is a four shot
lead going into the final end.
STUDIO: A single in the next end
gave Furman the second set and in
the tie-break Harlow took the first
end with Furman taking the second
and we join it for the third and
final end of this intriguing match.
COMMENTATOR: The last thing he wants
is something short and in the way.
In a tie-break situation like this,
this is the only end where you can
nominate to destroy the end and
Neil's driving has been key in this
match and the last thing he wanted
was to be down the rink.
knows this is a golden chance. He
can really put the pressure on. That
is a good opener, a really good
It could be very valuable,
touching the jack, it stopped him
going across the head a bit. Early
days but I have seen these being
hit, jack in the ditch.
where he is going. He wants the
The bowl was the second
option. Greg will put it back. I
think Neil would have reckoned he
was very close to the jack there.
Some shot and he has also lifted the
touch off the rink and that will
take no further part -- the toucher.
There is the replacement, centre
rink is what he is looking for and
he does not want to drift. That is
an even narrower target.
The thought process, does he go
again, does he try to draw?
Controlled weight inside would not
do any harm. Once he gets inside his
own bowl with controlled weight he
is going to be very close to
He has taken the time
out. That gives him an extra 60
seconds to think about this one.
is definitely worth playing inside,
in a tie-break you have to be
He is going for it again.
missed the line.
If you are Greg
Harlow do you leave it alone and go
to the back?
He has got the last
bowl, I would leave it because he
has so much room, that if Neil is to
go again and gets the bowl, Greg
will easily draw with his last one.
I can see what he is thinking of.
is going to call time-out.
to put another one in, even
centreline. But then you're taking a
risk on Neil drawing the shot and
whilst the odds are against it, it
is always a possibility. Or the
alternative is to go deep so if the
jack does go in the ditch you still
It a thrilling end to the match.
It's a thinking game at this stage,
no doubt about that.
David Gourlay they're watching with
Off the forehand, very wide.
covering both deep and the re-spot.
It is a default shot in many ways,
if you're not really quite sure
where the best position is with
regards to your opponent and what
they are going to play, go deep.
There is always the chance of the
bowl going on to the jack and
It's a good point, it's hard to go
back to a drawing quake having two
I think he will go for it
-- drawing weight.
try to get to the jack clean.
It is about big moments and big
shots and this is a big moment. Can
Neil Furman find the big shot
Is he too wide? It looks
wide to me. I think Greg has managed
to get through this one.
has survived and I don't think that
is being unkind, survived an
exceptionally good second set from
Neil Furman who played a very good
tie-break. The defending champion
gets his way past the American, Neil
gets his way past the American, Neil
That is a relieved Greg
Harlow with me now. That was hard
work but you are through.
Absolutely, I started well in the
first step and played well and Neil
came back really strong and deserves
the second set and it is matchplay
bowls, obviously tie-breaks can go
either way and fortunately I could
scrape through today.
A tough game
but that first set in particular he
was flying away from you but you got
your line and length sorted in the
I started off a bit scrappy
and Greg was hot right from the go
and I realised after about five or
six ends that the set was gone so I
try to calm down for the second set.
And the tie-break is anyone's going.
I put myself under pressure in the
third end by dropping a short bowl
and could not see a clean jack, he
played two really good shots when I
took the one out. He played very
well and he is very hard to beat.
That was a really good win for Greg
Harlow who was in the final here
last year against Paul Foster who
was also in action today, this time
against Chris Gale. Chris played out
of the Heaton Park club in
Manchester and was relishing the
prospect of going toe to toe with
the current world champion but the
Englishman was carrying an injured
leg is at the match was even
tougher. Having not been at the top
six in the world for the past 16
years, that tells you all you need
to know about Paul Foster, strong
and tenacious and fiercely
competitive. We join it in the
fourth end with leading 2-1.
COMMENTATOR: They met in round one
last season and Paul Foster
triumphed. The first set did not
take too long, seven ends but the
second set, eight ends, 7-3. Chris
Gale is a very, very good player. He
played in a lot of competitions. He
is an international standard player,
plays a lot of qualifiers and goes
over to Belfast on a regular basis
to play in them as well.
He is all over it. APPLAUSE
A very calm player, Chris Gale. When
you are playing a world champion,
you have got to try to stay calm and
play your shots and at the moment he
is lying one.
He is worried he is going to touch
this away and you could see it early
and he might well have done.
It's just held on. He put his
hand out very early, realising that
he was going to play onto his own.
Paul Foster on the back and looking
for a little touch on the jack. It's
not going to get there.
inches away from the perfect bowl.
Not really a spare shot opportunity,
however, if he comes off the red he
could tuck the jack around the
corner and make a three. Just needs
to get into the split between the
red and the jack. Well played.
Brilliant straw. -- brilliant draw.
Some players might have left it
alone but he had confidence. And
It was a good shot
and not easy but certainly the right
shot to play.
A good start for Chris
Gale. He plays out of Blackpool,
It will be interesting, given the
injury that he has had, once all is
healed and well, whether his
football career will come to a halt.
I think maybe Korea is a bit
generous, Paul! But he is out there
kicking the ball, and that's great.
It counts as a career! It doesn't
matter if you make it at the top
I think he might have to have
serious thoughts about giving it up,
you know. It's hard enough to take
one Paul Foster when you are fully
fit. But it's a monumental task. So,
he's doing well.
Chris Gale's club hosted an
international open. He was always a
difficult competitor when he
qualifies for that.
And adjustment has been made.
A snap of the fingers.
there's something... I don't think
the line is too bad.
Well, it's not
a bad thing when you know from the
It is either that or he was
just over the line from the yard
shot. He was attempting to move the
jack. He was certainly in a good
position to do that.
He will be looking for that ball
just to drop. It could be two
Three inches past jack with
a gap of three inches.
It looked a better line. Of, he just
got the wrong side. I was going to
say it might just hold up, but his
own green ballpoints back under the
red and tapped them out. Definite
two, possible three he could lose in
Paul Foster felt he was on the same
line and wanted the results.
He had his hand held out there, but
it still looked good all the way.
probably thought it was not coming
back. But in it came. And it is a
three for the Scot.
Well, no mercy
in that one. Foster used the
momentum, winning the next three
ends and taking the first set 9-4.
He continued to turn the screw in
the second set. When we rejoin it,
he has a 4-1 lead going into end
And the problems sometimes can be
that you can throw yourself of your
weight. -- yourself off your weight.
Decent start, though.
Yes, you know,
if you are two or three yards
through, Paul Foster turns his back
He's not doing bad, though.
The green ball is two feed. Paul is
just inside that. -- two feed.
It look so pretty generous two feet
It certainly does.
Yes, the white marker that was on
your screen just disappears a metre
away from the jack and the Red Bull,
it must have been in the middle of
it. -- and the red ball.
Turned the ball over. Not quite.
It has just slid the green ball
enough to make it second.
He'd like to add a little bit of
pressure here by joining another.
It's good enough.
Close for the third one, that would
suggest. Paul Foster is having a
real good look at it.
The ball is
now moved back, there is now three
red. The white indicating a time-out
indicating a time-out. It's worth
Chris has three
call. I was thinking, take the time.
But he has potentially three against
They are driving the
backhand. Trying to take something
out, seeing what results you can
get. It's not the best result, is
No, it's not. It could still be
two red with a ball to play, it
It's one of the days where
I don't think it's a toucher, that
will go. The jack has been moved.
Two red and a mountain of room for
Paul Foster to draw another. So it's
going to be three red, 7-1.
even Paul Mitchell could draw that.
Let's not stress the point, I don't
We have to keep our
skills are pit stop your absolutely!
We are going to be down there soon
enough. If somebody gives you five
yards to draw, I'd like to think I
could do it. I'm not sure I could
always do so. But Paul Foster, as I
said, absolutely no problem. Now,
that's a big swig of the match, Paul
Foster really in control. And that
was good enough to give foster an
unassailable lead, eventually taking
the match 9-4, 8-3. Paul, the three
threes good, good to get the play
out of the way?
I know Chris is a
good player, but there is a lot of
pressure on the first round match.
You hope that you play well enough
to get through the first round
Chris, I know you were not a
man to make excuses, but how tough
is it playing with a dodgy leg?
is tough at the best of times
playing ball, but with a dodgy leg
it is even harder. The white Paul
Foster, such a great player on the
rink, but he's pretty good
rink, but he's pretty good
outside as well on the grass. He has
won so many medals, often with his
good friend, Alex Marshall. He was
in action here today as well pretty
tricky customer, David Bolt. A fine
player inside and out, David won his
first national singles title in
2011, the same year he joined
first national singles title in
2011, the same year he joined the
English senior international team.
Alex Marshall is quite simply the
best that has ever been on the
portable rink. When it really
matters at the World Championships,
Alex has lifted
matters at the World Championships,
Alex has lifted the Trophy seven
times, more than any other bowl.
Marshall got off to a great start
with a full house in the second end,
and stormed into an early 4-1 lead.
The two players traded singles over
the next four ends. We join it in
the second end with Marshall leading
The venue here in Perth is built
over the drinks of the indoor club
here in Perth. All very carefully
looked after and protected.
It's all part of the game, to
overcome the difficulties on the
brink. That's where the vast
experience of the top-ranked players
come into play -- difficulties on
One red. There is a slight gap.
Just got a chance with this one.
Beautifully inside the red one, just
Good ball, squeezes the
jack, that's where it's going.
six inches short of jack Hite.
Wouldn't like that much, but he's
got to be careful about the wait to
come off it. He would prefer it to
be six inches through the jack. --
the weak to come off it. -- for
Might just falls a little bit more
weight. -- just force.
A weighted shot.
He's going under,
but he might get a result of his
own. Oh, no! That's horrible. That
is a shocking result, absolutely
shocking. It really is. Dear, oh
dear. I can understand him taking
one out, but it was very unlucky for
everything to disappear.
green on to green, and he didn't
even touch the red ball at the
front. He does have one ball to
play, but it will be four against
him when he comes to play it. That
was like these old trick snooker
shots that John Virgo used to do,
I'm going to do this, this and this
and I'm going to leave, you know...
Almost impossible. But not quite.
As you would expect from Alex,
absolutely no mercy. At this stage,
at 6-3 in the southern end, he has
to go for this. You know, it's so
hard to join in, even for third
ball, surely he has to run at it --
in the seventh end. In it goes.
Oh, and played it well.
Toucher in the ditch, green ball at
the back. He's going to lift up a
The eight a massive
Well, that is certainly among
the shots of the days ago the eight
ball, a massive Paul! He was all but
out of the set, trusted to drive.
And a good result.
Bolt won the next
end, which made it 6-6, as we head
back for the last end of the first
It is three inches past. Three
He usually prefers the backhand
going in this direction, but he
knows that at three inches past,
well, it's his choice, bowl or jack.
A bit of work to do to get back to
It was a brave shot. Early
in the rink. Giving it a go. And he
stayed on, which is to his benefit
So you're playing this end almost
like a tie-break and -- end. It
doesn't matter if you lose four,
just get one. That's all that you
want. He'll get back to the draw
now. And his favourite backhand as
This is an important bowl, it could
put all of the pressure back on to
He has played it well.
He has to find another good one.
A lot of work to do to get back from
that line. It just didn't look
right. It wasn't too far-away,
Eight inches short of the
jacks, and the gap is six.
awake, and it might have carried.
Alex Marshall, his opponent has want
to play once this comes to a rest.
-- has one to play.
it is certainly worth arriving down
18 inches short of jack Hite.
It is a deep Greg ball. He has to
give this a chance to get into his
own. Slightly different line this
time. Definitely on the inside. He
has got a chance of getting his own
ball over, coming off at an angle.
Could take the prize with him. Not
an easy shot to play, that one.
That's a great ball. In he came.
That's a hard shot, it really is a
hard shot. But it is a set live
against Alex Marshall. And it's not
a given in this one -- it is a set
lie against Alex Marshall. This is
tough. A smooth delivery of Alex
Marshall. It has never changed.
starts to work back now. Just not
It just didn't break.
shots in the first set to David
Well, David Bowie takes the
set. I think Alex Marshall expected
that to break up and faster than it
did -- David Galt. He built an early
three shot lead in the second, but
Marshall fought back with seven
shots in the space of three ends.
When we rejoin committee is leading
8-4 going into the eighth end. --
when we rejoin, he is leading.
He has certainly found the road down
with this one.
Wants to take it with him.
One of these situations that looks
awful from the mat, but Alex
Marshall knows there's space there.
Oh, there's a chance now.
Any sort of chance where he has to
score a double.
One shot would be enough for Alex.
To take the set, going into the
Made the adjustments.
A really good bowl and a lot of
pressure. -- under a lot of
4.5 inches under jack
Hite. One down.
He is asking a lot for this to get
And there is the ball falling as
Alex Marshall has got three
time-outs left available to him. He
won't need one here.
Looking to play this wide. Cover
every spot just in case.
going deeper than that, Paul.
Because the front plant is pushing
the jack all the way through with
the touching green ball. Now, for
that ball to continue all the way
with it I think it might have to be
a bit fortunate, but it's well worth
the effort. There's no backhand for
now. -- no backhand draw now.
Again, a time-out will be called.
David has three time-outs remaining.
If he's looking at this the way I
think you should be, he should be
looking at hitting that ball. The
green ball will go through and the
jack will move, but the back red one
that the jack has played, that could
be sufficient to stop everything. It
was a clever ball. That's what he's
looking for. He's looking for the
Well, you don't see it
often, but it does happen. It's two
shots to Alex Marshall. Into the
tie-break, then. Marshall won the
first end in the best-of-3.
Well, will Alex take the risk of
running the ball? Not if he's on the
backhand, you won't. Just drawing
He has backed himself on that
backhand all afternoon. But that
looked a little lazy.
The question is, does he have a go?
He has to go now. Just try and clear
things up a bit.
Very close, got a chance.
The touch-up went in the ditch, but
Alex's ball has rolled on, and it's
also a Tuchel. The question is, who
is lining the shot? -- also a
Struck it well, got the
jack, that's why it is a toucher. I
think he has...
It's not going to be
easy to beat, this one. That is why
David is an beforehand. Having said
that, the backhand does hold a lot.
He's going to have two encourage
this one to be up.
That looks lazy.
Puts the ball down, reset, restart.
Plenty of time on the clock. It's
now down to seven. Time-out called.
There's something catching. There is
something catching Alex Marshall's
I. -- Alex Marshall's I.
So, Alex Marshall, he just takes his
time. It's a key moment. He has
lined the shot.
That's what I was
saying about this backhand, earlier
in the game Alex played it wide and
it didn't come back. So there is a
Cole there. He knows he can get to
it. -- a hole. He knows he's played
this one well. He has to follow
that. I think when you can afford
the risk of the forehand.
bowl is nearly two feet, two yards,
Well, this line has to be so
good. He has to miss a lot of debris
at the front. He has certainly
pushed this one, no doubt about
that. It is his own bowl I'm
That looked like he'd
played that far too heavy.
Alex Marshall comes through the
tie-break. And it was a particularly
entertaining game. And David Bolt
gave it all. Alex Marshall lifting
the jack into the ditch was the key
in the tie-break. And Alex Marshall
goes through by 2-1.
Alex, I would
imagine after that you will be very
happy to be through?
know, the first set I dominated it a
lot of times. I think it was the
second last in the first set, I
should never have been near as
close, I was trying to be two feet,
two yard behind, I set it up nice to
David, and credit to him.
very well at the start but you were
playing well as well. You took eight
of the first 11 ends in the match,
you played remarkably well.
surprises us to be honest because I
thought I was a little bit in and
out for the first good two thirds of
the first set. I was continually
just putting a little bit tight, but
obviously just trying to hang in
with Alex. Maybe the last three ends
of the first set I started to string
a few bones together and put Alex
and others but of pressure.
through, and the second round looks
So, today here at the Dewars Centre
we have seen some wonderful play and
wonderful shots. But which one is
the best? Here is corky to tell us.
My shot of the day comes from the
match Alex Marshall and David Bull.
It was a good game, but Alex
Marshall was in control in the first
set. He was 6-3 up and for shots, a
set of effectively, and we were in a
situation when David Bolt had one
ball left and he had to make this
short work of the ways the first set
was gone. Let's see what happens. --
otherwise the first set was gone. On
beforehand, full outdrive, it -- on
beforehand, a full outdrive. The
torture goes in, the Red ball
disappears, and David Galt had a
green ball back there. He scores a
double, that takes him to 6-5, and
then of course he went on and won
the first set, guaranteed a
tie-break against the six times
world champion. And that's why it
was my shot of the day.
We will be
back for the second-round action on
BBC Two Scotland. It all gets
underway at 1pm tomorrow. Please
join us for that if you can. If
today is anything to go by, it's
going to be another wonderful day.
The meantime, from all of us here at
the Dewars Centre impasse,
Highlights from the first round at Dewars Centre in Perth. Scotland's reigning world champion Paul Foster and six-time world champion Alex Marshall are both in action, as well as Greg Harlow, who has lifted the trophy here for two years.
Introduced by Dougie Vipond, with commentary by Paul Mitchell and David Corkill.