Bowls: Five-time champ Marshall crashes out of World Bowls

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There will be no record- extending sixth World Indoor singles title for Tranent legend Alex Marshall this year, after he made a shock first-round exit in the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Championships in Great Yarmouth.

Fully expected to sail through his opener against South African qualifier Craig Rimmington – who only arrived at the venue the previous day and had a record of only one victory from his six visits to this event – Marshall found himself trailing 5-0 in the first set, which he went on to lose 8-5.

Because of his dismal record in this event, the thought of beating Marshall had never entered Rimmington’s head and he had booked himself a 6am flight from Stanstead this morning to head home. And that looked to be a wise move as, in the second set, the 44-year-old from East Lothian only dropped two singles to take the set 10-2 with an end to spare and send the match into a best-of-three end shoot-out.

But once again, 49-year-old Rimmington pulled off two stunning and vital shots, trailing the jack with his last bowl of the first end and then turning the jack with his second delivery on the second end to relegate Marshall to the sidelines with his truly unexpected 2-0 win.

A devastated Marshall said: “I don’t think I played too badly but Craig always had one bowl that did the damage.”

Marshall was not the only former champion to bow out as he was joined on the sidelines by 2009 winner Billy Jackson, who crashed 10-6, 14-0 to qualifier Rob Paxton from Exeter.