Royal is eyeing a title flush

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BOWLER Mark Royal is hoping he can finally turn much promise into the most sought-after prize in his sport.

The world number three will be gunning for glory when the 13th Potters Holidays World Indoor Bowls Championship, gets under way in Hopton-on-Sea, Norfolk, today.

His best run in the World Indoor Singles was when he reached the quarter-finals in 2009 and after five semi-final appearances on the World Bowls Tour, he now feels it is time to turn his talent into trophies.

“It’s about time I had a good run,” said Royal, of Stowmarket. “You need to play well and have a little bit of luck on your side to win anything like this because it’s such a short format.

“There’s a lot of big pressure points you need to do well on. I’m playing well at the moment so I’m full of confidence.”

The event also sees the World Men’s Pairs and World Mixed Pairs take place. Royal was runner-up of the Mixed Pairs in 2009 and made the last four last year, while he has enjoyed consecutive semi-final showings in the Men’s Pairs.

This year, he will be joined by Simon Skelton for the Men’s Pairs and Janice Gower for the Mixed Pairs, competing against seven other teams for the two titles on offer.

Royal partners Skelton in their World Indoor Pairs quarter-final against David Gourlay and Billy Jackson or an overseas pair on January 9 (10am), before teaming up with Gower in the mixed event to face Ian Bond and Julie Forrest in their opening match on January 14 (11am)

However, Royal’s main goal is success in the World Indoor Singles, which does not begin until January 12, when he takes to the rink in a bid to settle a score with Norfolk’s Jamie Chestney.

“I lost to him in the first round about four years ago,” said Royal, who owns his own bowls shop in Stowmarket. “I want to get some revenge, but he’s a good young player.

“Because we are both local, we should get a lot of support and there should be a packed crowd that day.”

Greg Harlow, who bowls for City of Ely, goes into the tournament as the defending champion, but is in the opposite half of the draw to Royal, who would have to face Australia’s Kevin Kerlow or England’s Nick Brett in the second round, should he advance past Chestney.

Whoever claims the ultimate prize by winning through five rounds of competition, including the final, will be £40,000 richer.