Darren Burnett’s defence of his Just Retirement World Indoor Singles title came to a shuddering halt as he was battered 11-1 11-1 by 2010 world champion Greg Harlow at Potters.
The scoreline suggested a one-sided quarter-final encounter and in truth, it was. Arbroath bobby Burnett was never at the races and was playing catch-up right from the offset as he struggled to find, line, length and any sort of inspiration on the blue rink against the world No.9.
“I tried my best, but I just didn’t feel confident out there,” lamented Burnett. “My mind wasn’t there and in fairness, it was probably one game too far. I am disappointed, but probably more so by the scoreline than anything else.
“I didn’t feel focused, I wasn’t ‘in the zone’, my head wasn’t where it should have been and to be honest, that isn’t me. I had too many scattered bowls and Greg played exceptionally well. He had me under pressure and even the odd end it looked like I might score, he pulled out a big bowl.”
The 38-year-old found himself 7-0 down after four ends against a composed Harlow, who was taking full advantage of a below-par Burnett.
He stopped the rot with a single on end five, but his City of Ely rival was not about to cave in and let the current world champion get a sniff of a comeback, duly wrapping the set up with two singles and a double.
After dropping a single on the first end of the second set, Burnett looked poised to strike back on the next end, but fate conspired against him.
“I was lying a good three down at the bottom and he was looking at it for ages,” explained Burnett. “He was probably going to hit it, but he chose a forehand draw and he came up and sat right beside my bowl and as I came up to turn him out and a make a three, I ended up losing a one and that just about summed the game up.
“Any ounce on getting focused and changing the game, these things couldn’t happen. I put myself under pressure too often. I found the gaps as well and these things happen when you’re not playing well.”
A 2-0 lead soon became 5-0, but Burnett won a single on the fourth end and was about to reduce the arrears even further, but ended giving the shot away and going 6-1 down was a hammer blow to the solar plexus.
From that moment Burnett was gone and a full house all but wrapped the match up for Harlow, who then collected another single to complete an all-too-easy win.
“He dominated most ends and I was playing silly shots, to be honest,” added Burnett. “I can’t put my finger on it. I felt good and practised really well. Never have I been out there and not really felt ‘in the zone’ or focused on the job in hand. I felt there in person, but not in spirit.
“You can’t turn up against world class players and expect to win if you’re not 100 per cent there. Even if I had been, I might not have won that match as Greg played really well.”
Burnett, who lost his grandmother during the tournament, went on: “It’s been a long, old tournament and I have had a lot to deal with. I just want to get home now and see my family.
“I wanted to successfully defend my title, but you can’t just turn up and win everything. I made the quarter-final and gained some decent ranking points. I now have a month to focus on the International Open [at Blackpool], which will be really tough as I play a local player [Mark Dawes] on his own green, possibly the toughest draw of the first round. Hopefully I will turn up and give it a go.”