Harlow Celebrates 40th Playing Bowls
PUBLISHED: 21:28 17 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:27 04 May 2010
BOWLS JUST four days after his 40th birthday, Ely s Greg Harlow will step back onto his favourite bowls rink in the world when he begins the defence of his title in the Co-operative Funeralcare World Matchplay Championship. The World Bowls Tour event -
JUST four days after his 40th birthday, Ely's Greg Harlow will step back onto his favourite bowls rink in the world when he begins the defence of his title in the Co-operative Funeralcare World Matchplay Championship.
The World Bowls Tour event - featuring the top eight players in the WBT World Rankings - will take place at the Ponds Forge International Arena in Sheffield for the second year, from 10-11 July.
Harlow has enjoyed significant success on the WBT's unique portable rink in Sheffield, and the world No 2 arrived at last year's inaugural event following three successive victories in the WBT International Open at Ponds Forge.
In the 2007 final he beat the then world champion Mervyn King 10-8, 4-10, 2-0 in a dramatic climax to extend his unbeaten run in the Yorkshire city.
Harlow - one of the few WBT players who only competes indoors - reached the semi-finals of last week's PartyCasino.com Premier League Bowls at Potters Leisure Resort in Norfolk.
In a repeat of their first round clash twelve months ago, top seed Harlow will face experienced England captain Andy Thomson in the opening round.
His potential semi-final opponent is Welshman Jason Greenslade, the world No 4, but the fourth seed will first have to overcome Paul Foster, the in-form Scot who became the first Premier League champion last week.
Favourite Harlow is may meet Scotland's record five-times world champion Alex Marshall - seeded two - in the final.
Englishman Mark Royal is the only player making his World Matchplay debut in Sheffield next month. The 33-year-old from Stowmarket in Suffolk - the youngest player in the field - enjoyed a sensational 2007/08 WBT season.
Action from the event will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, followed by recorded highlights.
1st round draw:
 Greg Harlow (ENG) v  Andy Thomson (ENG)
 Jason Greenslade (WAL) v  Paul Foster (SCO)
 David Gourlay (AUS) v  Mark Royal (ENG)
 Alex Marshall (SCO) v  Mervyn King (ENG)
Play gets underway at 1.00pm on Thursday 10 July, with first round matches continuing at 3.00pm, 6.00pm and (approx) 8.00pm. Friday's semi-finals kick off at 2.00pm, with the final scheduled at 7.00pm.