World Bowls Championships: Les Gillett stuns Alex Marshall to reach last eight

Gillett put Marshall under pressure throughout their second round match Picture: Dominic Picksley EMN-170126-181231002
Gillett put Marshall under pressure throughout their second round match Picture: Dominic Picksley EMN-170126-181231002

Melton ace Les Gillett produced a bowling masterclass this afternoon to knock six-time champion Alex Marshall out of the World Indoor Singles at the second round stage.

Still on a high following his world pairs success with Jason Greenslade earlier in the week, the 46-year-old never gave Marshall a sniff as he claimed a straight sets 6-4 8-6 victory at the five-star Potters Leisure Resort, at Hopton-on-Sea.

Les Gillett uses all of his powers of concentration to knock out the six-time world champion Alex Marshall Picture: Dominic Picksley EMN-170126-181246002

Les Gillett uses all of his powers of concentration to knock out the six-time world champion Alex Marshall Picture: Dominic Picksley EMN-170126-181246002

It was the second win in a week for Gillett over Marshall, having dispatched the Scot and Paul Foster in the pairs.

“That was probably the most I have ever concentrated, as I knew I had to,” Gillett said.

“I was in control of myself and I went out there determined not to rush.

“My philosophy this week is to take my time. I’ve got 30 seconds to deliver the bowl, use it, and that’s what I did.

“Every bowl was a match-winning bowl in my eyes and I think I put them reasonably close and kept Alex under pressure. I made him play all the hard shots and I think that was the key.

“If you want to compete with the best in the world, you have to try to be the best. Thankfully, I played really well.”

Gillett, who defeated Tom Warner last week to set up a meeting with ‘Tattie’, broke out of the stalls quickly to grab a double on the first end and from there on in was never behind in the match.

It was nip-and-tuck for the next few ends, but a run of three successive singles gave ‘Razor’ some breathing space, which eventually secured him the first set.

A treble on end four of the second set, gave him a two-shot cushion and he stretched that to four after the seventh end as he continued to stick his red bowls around the yellow jack and, quite frankly, Marshall just couldn’t cope with the onslaught.

The Scot was clearly struggling on the portable blue rink, failing to find line or length with any sort of consistency and Gillett just kept taking advantage, although a rare three-shot haul on end eight gave Marshall a glimmer of hope going into the final end.

Gillett, though, stuck another one close and Marshall just couldn’t produce one last big bowl to prolong the match and the Leicestershire man punched the air in delight after securing a huge win.

Gillett, who will play the winner from the evening tie between Darren Burnett and Mervyn King in the quarter-final on Friday, added: “In my eyes, Alex is still the best bowler in the world.

“I gave him the utmost respect and I didn’t think any shot was safe. Every time I drew one close I thought he was going to beat it and when he didn’t, I tried to make it harder.”

When asked if he thought he could go on to win a first-ever singles crown, he added: “One step at a time. If I keep playing like that, though, I’ve got as good a chance as anybody.

“What I have done this week, after the Pairs success, is believe in myself, and maybe I can do it.”