Midlothian’s Walker and Duncan lose world final to ‘sensational’ bowls

Ronnie Duncan, left, and Colin Walker
Ronnie Duncan, left, and Colin Walker
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Midlothian bowler Colin Walker insisted he and partner Ronnie Duncan ran into “sensational” opponents as their brave bid for Just Retirement World Indoor Pairs glory was ended in the final at the Potters Resort in Norfolk.

The duo were beaten 10-7, 10-6 by Stewart Anderson of Blantyre, and Arbroath’s Darren Burnett in an all-Scottish final.

Duncan, 32, and his 40-year-old skip Walker – playing partners for 14 years – had taken the scalps of David Gourlay and Mervyn King, then holders Rob Paxton and Simon Skelton before defeating three-time previous winners Paul Foster and Alex Marshall to set up their tilt at the title.

Yesterday, though, despite some supreme bowling and a packed theatre of spectators, the match never really caught fire.

In the first set, a single-shot lead was the biggest margin until Burnett and Anderson scored a treble to make the break to 8-6 and then added a brace of singles, going on to take the set 10-7.

In the second, the Midlothian duo took first blood with a double but the match ran away from them with Anderson and Burnett reeling off eight straight shots over the next five ends. That cushion was enough to allow them only one more scoring end and leave Duncan and Walker chasing as they claimed the title 10-6 with an end to spare.

A disappointed Walker confessed: “They were sensational, particularly Darren. He never missed any target and pulled off some amazing shots that were almost impossible to get.

“We played really well too but perhaps we didn’t take enough early chances.

“It was a funny game as the rink wasn’t swinging and the bowls were finishing on the high side and just weren’t coming back.”

Both players also bowed out in the opening matches of the World Indoor singles, with Walker losing to Burnett and Duncan to Greg Harlow, but can look forward to next month, where, as part of Bowls Scotland elite squad, their next venture will be when they travel to New Zealand where they will compete in a Six Nations event which in reality is a training and selection camp assessment prior to December’s world outdoor championships in Christchurch.

Meanwhile, Marshall began his campaign for a record-extending seventh world indoor singles title when he won through against Ireland’s Garry Kelly 9-5, 7-5.

However, before his second-round game against Blackpool’s Mark Dawes tomorrow, he has the little matter of the World Mixed Pairs title decider today where he will line up with Teviotdale’s Julie Forrest against the newly-crowned pairs champion Burnett and his partner Katherine Rednall from Ipswich.