Royal seeks improvement

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BOWLS star Mark Royal will be hoping to lift his second Welsh Grand Prix in three years this weekend.

The world number three, who was in quarter-final action against Scotland’s 14th seed Jonathan Ross last night, has been struggling in the Swansea-based tournament so far.

However, speaking ahead of yesterday’s match, Royal was confident of recapturing the form that saw him reach his first World Championship semi-final last month.

“I am looking forward to the game against Jonathan,” said Royal, who won this tour event in 2008. “I really fancy my chances actually, but of course you never know. He is a solid player.”

After defeating qualifier Jamie Chestney, 10-7 10-5, on Monday, Royal edged past New Zealand qualifier Peter Wilson on Wednesday. The Suffolk left-hander was behind his opponent for most of the opening set, but a double in the final end tied the set at 6-6 – paving the way for a more comfortable second set (8-7).

“All in all, I haven’t been playing too well yet, but hopefully that will improve as the tournament progresses,” said Royal. “The second set was much more comfortable than the 8-7 scoreline suggests.”

Royal fell to eventual winner Paul Foster in the last four of the World Championships last month and he already has one eye on gaining revenge over the Scot.

For the result of yesterday’s match between Royal and Ross, go to