Les Gillett world singles title bid ends at semi-final stage

Les Gillett during his quarter-final win over Scott Edwards. Picture: Dominic Picksley EMN-190125-170818002
Les Gillett during his quarter-final win over Scott Edwards. Picture: Dominic Picksley EMN-190125-170818002
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Les Gillett saw his hopes of a first-ever place in the Just World Indoor Singles final dashed by eventual champion Stewart Anderson as the Scot edged their semi-final encounter on Saturday, writes Dominic Picksley.

After an excellent run to his second world singles semi-final in three years, this was one game too many for Gillett who had to bow out of the tournament 8-6, 8-7.

“Credit to Stewart, he played brilliantly once again, I’ve got no complaints, the best man won,” he said.

“These guys are great and only one player can win the tournament and it wasn’t my year, but I’ll be back. I hope Stewart goes on to win the title.”

There could have been some needle from the outset, with Gillett making comments ahead of his quarter-final clash with 2013 winner Edwards about other players ‘coming to Potters, getting drunk and not practising’ which raised a few eyebrows amongst his WBT rivals.

But things seemed cordial on the portable rink and it was the Melton ace who started better, winning the first two ends.

But Anderson soon moved up the gears, relying on his brilliant drawing game to put Gillett, who had to resort to weight several times in the first set, under pressure.

A two-shot lead soon became a four-shot deficit as Anderson forged 6-2 ahead after five ends, but Gillett hit back with a treble to come right back into it.

Anderson staved off the threat with another single, and although Gillett reduced his advantage to one, he drew in with his last bowl on the final end to move one set up.

Anderson lost the first end of the second set, but he began to dominate from there on, claiming six shots on the next four ends to move 6-1 ahead.

The game was seemingly moving out of Gillett’s sights, but he hit back in stunning fashion to claim five shots in two ends to suddenly draw level from nowhere. Anderson responded with a double on the next end, but Gillett fought back again and drew in with a couple of shots on the final end.

Yet just as he was about to bowl his last, Anderson’s nearest bowl fell in to reduce the count to one and needing a three, Gillett could do nothing about it and so victory went to the ninth seed.

“I got a real good runner and got a good three out of it and the last end I was laying a good two,” Gillett added.

“And then Stewart’s last bowl sat in for second which changed the dimensions of the head and I didn’t have a shot apart from the perfect draw.”