Darren Burnett overcame the death of his grandmother to keep his hopes alive of defending his Just Retirement World Indoor Singles crown as he edged past Elgin’s Graeme Donaldson in a thrilling encounter at Potters.
The popular Arbroath star had to pull out all the stops to see off his fellow countryman, who pushed him all the way to a tie-break, with the burly copper turning on the style to claim a 2-0 success in the three-end lottery and move into the last eight.
“It was a difficult game, Graeme played really well and is a quality player,” admitted Burnett afterwards.
“I lost my gran yesterday morning, so it was tough for me. I think she was smiling down on me as I got one or two big results out there which pushed me over the line in the end.”
With the first set going hammer and tong and locked at stalemate at 6-6 going into the final end, Burnett managed to nick a vital shot and move into the driving seat.
But Donaldson powered into an early 4-0 lead in the second as he proved undaunted by the occasion and by the final end had secured a 7-3 lead, although Burnett gave himself a chance of victory by drawing three to the jack. He was heavy with his final delivery, though, and the match entered tie-break territory.
The pressure looked to have got to Donaldson on the first end as Burnett grabbed a vital shot without too mush fuss, but the qualifier looked set to prolong the match before the Arbroath man decided to play weight not for the first time.
He made contact with the jack, but got lucky as the yellow object flicked off Donaldson’s back bowl and headed into the ditch, with Burnett’s red wood nestling beside it, giving Donaldson absolutely no chance of bettering it.
“There were three bowls really close and I had played that hand a few times,” explained Burnett on the game’s conclusion. “There was a draw on the other side, but it is a completely different weight and line. It was difficult and I nearly over played it.”
Burnett now heads to quarter-final day on Friday, where he will play the winner of this afternoon’s clash between Greg Harlow and Stewart Anderson.