Defending champions Alison Merrien MBE and Paul Foster MBE started where they left off in last year’s final - bringing their ‘A’ game to the portable rink as they got their campaign to retain the @Imagine Cruising World Indoor Mixed Pairs Matchplay title up and running against newcomer Clare Hendra from New Zealand and England’s Jamie Chestney.
The challengers though were the first to put a score on the board – chalking up back-to-back singles.
However, the holders bounced into life scoring four shots in a row. They then dropped a single but pushed through with a treble and a further single to take the set 8-3 with an end to spare.
Hendra and Chestney once again started well in the second set – scoring a single, but in a repeat of the first set, Merrien and Foster reeled off four shots to lead 4-1 after four ends.
This time though Hendra and Chestney struck back, scoring three shots over the fifth and sixth ends to square the set at 4-4, but once again the defending champions nailed the shots over the closing stages, scoring a treble and double to put the result beyond doubt at 9-4 with an end in hand.
They will now line up in the semi-final against the winner of the match between Julie Forrest from Scotland and England’s Mark Dawes or local Norfolk ace Katherine Rednall and her partner Les Gillett – who have all won a varied selection of WBT titles here at Potters over the years.
**The format replicates the Open Two Bowl Pairs and is decided over the best of two sets of 9 ends. If tied after that then a best of three end tie-break will be played to decide the winner. Players may decide to change playing positions at the beginning of each set. Either the man or woman can skip.
MATCH 1 - *Holders Alison Merrien MBE (GGY) & Paul Foster MBE bt Clare Hendra (NZ) & Jamie Chestney (Eng) 8-3, 9-4