Breaking world title record is not on Falkner’s mind this year

DEFENDING CHAMP: Ellen Falkner. Picture: World Bowls Tour
DEFENDING CHAMP: Ellen Falkner. Picture: World Bowls Tour

Ellen Falkner claims she is not thinking about setting new records at the Just World Indoor Bowls Championship, writes Alex Moss.

The City of Ely Bowls star defeated Rebecca Field in the ladies singles final at Potters Leisure Resort last year, equalling Carol Ashby’s record of three titles.

But ahead of starting her bid for a record fourth title, Falkner insists she is only focusing on her first game, a quarter-final clash against Scottish international Claire Johnstone on Saturday, January 21 (10am).

“To be honest I don’t really think about records,” the 37-year-old said.

“I take each game as it comes. Any of the eight players (in the ladies draw) are capable of winning it.

“Claire is a Scottish international both indoors and outdoors, and she is a quality player.

“It was a dream come true to win it for a third time last year, but I know I’m going to have to be at the top of my game if I’m to have to a chance of winning it this year.”

Falkner, who won her first two titles in 2005 and 2006, became only the second player to win the ladies singles three times last year.

Her third triumph was arguably the hardest one yet, as she edged past both Julie Forrest and Laura Thomas in tie-breakers, before getting the better of Field over two close sets in the final.

And while Falkner will be buoyed by recent success at the World Outdoor Bowls Championship in New Zealand, where the England international scooped medals in the ladies pairs (bronze) and ladies fours (silver), she knows a tough test awaits her at Potters over the next two weeks.

“All three games last year were all close games,” she said.

“The final against Bex was one of the best games I’ve played in. It’s good to see in women’s bowls that the standard is high.”

Before facing Johnstone in her ladies singles opener, Falkner will team up with Robert Paxton to take on Paul Foster and Field in the mixed pairs quarter-finals on Friday, January 20 (2pm).

n Greg Harlow, Falkner’s fellow City of Ely Bowls club mate, kicks off his bid for a second open singles title at Potters when he faces Anthony Webb in the first round on Wednesday (2pm).

The 2010 champion lost out to former Ely team mate, and eventual winner, Nick Brett in the quarter-finals last year, and also reached the last eight in the open pairs alongside Brett last time out.

Harlow and Brett will take on either Andy Thompson and Mark Royal, or Damian Doubler and Daniel Salmon, in this year’s open pairs quarter-finals on Sunday (2pm).

In the mixed pairs, Harlow and Amy Stanton will team up to go up against Thompson and Janice Gower in the quarter-finals a week on Friday (20, 7.30pm).