Ronnie’s tough opener in world singles competition

Ronnie Duncan on left - Colin Walker on right.
Ronnie Duncan on left - Colin Walker on right.

Local bowler Ronnie Duncan makes his debut in the World Indoor Singles next month, but he couldn’t have wished for a tougher opponent.

Duncan, who plays for the Midlothian Indoor Club, will face recent Scottish Open winner and 2010 world champion Greg Harlow on January 14.

Duncan came through a tricky qualifying assignment at Falkirk, winning five matches in one day to book his place at Potters, the spiritual home of indoor bowls.

If that wasn’t remarkable enough, he, along with clubmate Colin Walker, then proceeded to qualify for the World Pairs the following day having come through another clutch of games against some top-quality opposition.

He very nearly fell at the first hurdle, though, in the Falkirk singles qualifier, battling back from a set down to beat Jim Byron in the first round, before overcoming John McHutchison, Graeme McDougall and clubmate Neil Linton on a tie-break, before beating Blantyre’s Scott Bishop in straight sets to book his place at Hopton-on-Sea.

“It was pretty tough and mentally draining, especially going back to work on the Monday,” said Scotland international Duncan, who won the British Isles Pairs title with Walker earlier this year. “I hadn’t really played that much before the qualifiers and went straight to Falkirk from basically finishing the outdoor season.”

This will be the first time Duncan has come up against the popular Harlow, who will start as one of the tournament favourites.

“He’s going to be on a high after winning the Scottish Open, but if I can make a good start and sneak the first set then you never know after that,” he said. “I’ve not set myself any goals, I take it one game at a time. You cannot take anything for granted because you are playing the world’s best.”