BOND IS BACK! SPOTLIGHT ON BOWLS

In his first season out of the World Bowls Tour world top 16 for more than a decade, Devon's Ian Bond struck back in the opening round of the Co-operative Funeralcare Scottish International Open at Dewars Centre in Perth to upset fellow Englishman Mark Royal, the world No4.

Now ranked 17 in the world, England's Bond took full advantage of the wild card he was given to compete in the WBT event for which the top 16 have automatic entry.

Twice the event's champion and runner-up two years ago, the Devon Destroyer fought back from a set down to beat Suffolk left-hander Royal 5-7, 9-4, 2-0.

Underdog Bond, once ranked seven in the world, led 4-1 in the opening set, but Royal recovered to open up his anticipated lead.

The tables were turned in the second where it was former world No2 Royal who held the early advantage – building up a 4-0 lead after three ends before Bond (Exonia) marched on to draw level without reply to force the best-of-three ends tie-break.

Robert Paxton also moved into the second round as a qualifier but the 33-year-old from Exeter had the rankings edge over his opponent Robert Chisholm, a late replacement for the unavailable world No9 Jonathan Ross.

Paxton, the world No18 who reached the semi-finals in the 2010 championship, was in commanding form as he defeated former compatriot Chisholm, the world No23 now playing under the Welsh flag, 10-4, 9-5.

The Co-operative Funeralcare Scottish International Open, the first WBT ranking event of the new 2011/12 season, features all but one of the top 16 indoor bowlers in the world, joined by qualifiers from the UK, Australia, South Africa, USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Israel.

 

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