The semi-finalists in the 2018 Major Singles Championship have been determined. In the last of the round two matches John Monks had a very impressive win over Joel Hilliard while Julian Penny held off a rousing fightback from Ray Downey to progress.
Often a slow starter in singles matches, Monks was quickly out of the blocks in his clash with Hilliard. The in-form Hilliard struggled to match the consistency of Monks’ play with the latter opening up a good 12 – 5 lead. Hilliard slowly clawed his way back into the game and narrowed the gap to 2 shots before Monks again moved away. From 13 – 11 the score went to 24 – 18 in Monk’s favour. Monks then powered to a 31 – 18 victory winning the next 6 ends.
Penny and Downey traded the lead in the earlier part of their game before Penny grabbed the advantage. In a telling period of domination Penny went from a 12 – 10 lead to 24 – 11 and in sight of victory. Downey then started a fightback which included two ends when he grabbed all 4 shots available. He was able to narrow the score to just 1 shot at 28 – 27 with the game right in the balance. As often happens, Downey then faltered at the most crucial moment playing some poor shots to see Penny close out the game 31 – 27 and set up a match with fellow octogenarian Stan Peck!!
And what a match they had. Penny continued his good form and held the advantage from the start. He won all but 4 of the first 14 ends and set up a good 20 – 11 lead. The only downside of this was that Peck kept in touch with 3 big scoring ends. Peck closed the gap to 20 – 16 and a real battle started as the players traded ends. Penny maintained his lead but Peck was reducing the margin.
On the 29th end Peck grabbed the lead for the first time in the match! On the back of winning 4 ends in a row he moved to 28 – 27. With all of the momentum Peck was able to hang onto the lead and won 31 – 28.
Monks continued his fine vein of form when he clashed with old rival Noel Downie. Downie won the first two ends but then Monks won the next 9 ends to create a 13 – 4 advantage. Monks was right on his game and he was able to match most things that Downie threw at him. He maintained a comfortable lead throughout and ended up winning 31 – 18.
Michael Kennedy and Alan McLeod had a great tussle in their game. The scores were close throughout the clash that lasted for 37 ends. McLeod held a slender advantage early, managing to keep his head in front but by the 20th end Kennedy was in front 17 – 16.
The scores remained very close as the players shared the ends. They were locked at 26 all after 32 ends before McLeod edged ahead to 29 – 26. Then Kennedy struck. He won the 36th end by a shot to move to 29 -27 and then, on what turned out to be the last end he was able to pick up all four shots to grab a hard fought 31 – 29 win.
John Fahey and Peter Wood played in the final quarter final and the end result does not reflect the closeness of the match and the quality of the bowls. The first 11 ends were very close with both players playing well. Fahey had a slight 10 – 8 advantage at this stage. From here, however, he started to dominate the scoreboard though the actual heads were tight. Wood was very unlucky on several occasions as he just missed with crucial bowls. Fahey ended up recording an impressive 31 – 13 victory.
In the semi-finals Stan Peck will play John Fahey while Michael Kennedy plays John Monks.