Harlw happy despite final Ryal failure

STOWMARKET bwler Mark Ryal claimed his maiden Wrld Bwls Tur title last week, winning the Welsh Internatinal Open in Llanelli at the expense f Ely s Greg Harlw. The 33-year ld Ryal had by far the mst difficult rute t the final, cming thrugh

STOWMARKET bwler Mark Ryal claimed his maiden Wrld Bwls Tur title last week, winning the Welsh Internatinal Open in Llanelli at the expense f Ely's Greg Harlw.

The 33-year ld Ryal had by far the mst difficult rute t the final, cming thrugh three successive tie breaks befre a nail-biting 10-8, 9-9 semi-final victry ver fellw Englishman Les Gillett.

Third seed Harlw n the ther hand, had prgressed withut drpping a set, dispsing f qualifying pair Jamie Higgins and Michael Bwley befre edging past seventh seed Andy Thmsn 7-6, 8-7 at the quarter-final stage.

Harlw - the highest seed remaining in the last eight after sme early rund shcks - faced the ne remaining hme bwler Jasn Greenslade in the last fur, but never lked in truble as he came thrugh 7-5, 10-4 t set up the meeting with Ryal.

The Sufflk man tk the pening set 7-5 after taking tw successive singles frm five-all, but fund himself 1-6 dwn in the secnd set as Harlw appeared t take cntrl f the match.

Ryal maintained his cncentratin hwever, and reeled ff a duble, a treble and tw mre dubles in successive ends t clinch the title 11-6.

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"It's magic," beamed Ryal afterwards. "I bwled sme f the best wds f my life this week - it's definitely been my best seasn ever!"

Harlw, wh was bviusly disappinted t lse the final, admitted that he "faded away" twards the finish.

"I nly had half-an-hur practice between the semi-final and the final when I had t switch frm red bwls t green bwls," said the Ely man. "But at the start f the turnament I'd have been happy with a place in the final."

Ryal may have felt he was destined at last t break his duck in this, the final WBT ranking event f the seasn.

In his secnd rund clash with Barry Jenkins - the qualifier wh had dispsed f defending champins Paul Fster in the pening rund - Ryal was match-lie dwn with just ne delivery left.

He drew the sht t win the tie-break hwever, subsequently describing the delivery as his "best bwl f the week."

Harlw's 30-pint haul frm his run t the final mved him back up t Wrld number tw - the same psitin he ccupied at the start - and he nw has his eyes n Barry Hearn's eight-man Premier League Bwls turnament in June.

"I'm the highest ranked player nt t be invited," said Harlw, "s I'm hping I will get ne f the tw wild card entries."

His next target after that will be the defence f his Wrld Matchplay title in July.