Royal hopes to find solution with help from unlikely source

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Mark Royal believes he has finally found the formula to Indoor Bowls World Championship glory, by using a rival’s bowls.

The Stowmarket ace heads to the Potters Resort in Norfolk today ahead of his World Pairs Championship quarter-final tie against David Gourlay and Mervyn King with partner Andy Thomson, before embarking on his singles challenge with a first-round tie against Gary R Smith on Thursday.

After admitting to enduring a tough past 12 months, the world number nine, who crashed out in the second round last year, believes he has found a novel solution, with a helping hand from the man who knocked him out last time round.

“The last 12 months have been difficult,” said Royal, who could set up a tie with Alex Marshall or Julie Foster. “I’ve been trying different bowls and not settled.

“However, I’m going to use Robert Paxton’s red set he doesn’t need anymore and hopefully that will be the answer.

“I’m not going to lie, I haven’t played at my best by any means but sometimes you go to the tournament with not a lot of confidence and do a lot better than expected.

“I haven’t got big expectations but hopefully I can get past the first round gain a huge amount of confidence and possibly go all the way.”

n Stowmarket High School’s Katherine Rednall starts her quest for Matchplay Singles glory on January 18 with a quarter-final tie against Elanor Gass.