Scots add Classic title to world crown
Scotland's Alex Marshall and George Sneddon, playing only their second tournament together, added the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic pairs title to their world crown after beating Welshmen Robert Jones and Jason Greenslade in style yesterday.
Bowling superbly in sometimes blustery conditions, the dynamic duo lifted Scotland's first Classic pairs title in six years following a convincing 22-16 victory at Craigengower Cricket Club. The match ended when Marshall, 34, drove his delivery straight at the jack for a 'toucher', preventing Wales from making another 'burn' and delaying what was inevitable.
Victory was sweet for Sneddon, who last week lost his first-round singles match as defending champion. But the retired 51-year-old Sneddon lifted his game and together with Marshall tamed the Welshmen as the Scots won their second prestigious title after winning gold at last year's World Championships in Johannesburg.
'As world champions we were specially invited to compete in Hong Kong and it's nice to win another big tournament. Alex [Marshall] was something different altogether and he showed why he's the number one bowler [in the world]. We had a great partnership at last year's World Championships and this is something else, winning here,' said Sneddon. 'I was lacking practice playing outdoors as we had just finished the indoor season. All due credit to Wales for putting up a good fight.'
Scotland were always leading by three or four shots throughout the three-hour encounter and were only seriously tested after the 13th end when Wales hit back with two shots. 'It was only a wee change, but it was a complete transformation for us because it took us time to get back into the match again,' said Sneddon.
Marshall said even though Scotland led by five shots going into the final end, he couldn't be sure of victory until the Welshmen were well and truly put out with his toucher.
'It was always at the back of my mind that they could come back with five shots and I was a bit grateful that they were shut out in the end. They had tried three times to burn the head before, but fortunately we put it out of the way,' said Marshall, who won Scotland's last pairs title here with Kenny Logan in 1995.
He also won the Classic pairs in 1990, partnering Graham Robertson. 'We have only played two events together. This victory will put us in good stead for next year's Commonwealth Games,' he said.
Greenslade was hoping to become the first man in 11 years to achieve the single-pairs double after Robertson's feat in 1990. But it was not to be his day.
'Every time we appeared to have a few shots in front on each end, Marshall would come up with some good shot and cancel them out. Robert Jones and myself can be proud for getting this far,' said Greenslade, who beat South Africa's Neil Burkett in last week's singles final.
Wales had defeated Australia's Brett Duprez and Adam Jeffery 22-21, while Scotland beat South Africa's Burkett and Eric Johannes 18-15 in the other semi-final.