The Short Mat Players Tour ( SMPT ) staged their latest tournament – the English Masters – at Bromsgrove Indoor Bowls Centre over the weekend of the 6th and 7th of February. This was one of five major tournaments the SMPT stage at Bromsgrove throughout the year, with other major tournaments being staged in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Norway and Sweden. English masters is an open singles competition with 144 bowlers from several countries participating, including three from the Worcestershire Short Mat Bowls Association – Richard Payne / Jim Tingle / Malcolm Saunders. Bowlers were randomly drawn and allocated into groups of six with group matches being played prior to a knockout series. With 24 mats in use there was plenty of activity over the weekend. Following completion of the group matches the top two bowlers proceeded to the main cup knockout series with third and fourth players competing for the “Plate” trophy and the fifth and six players competing for the “Shield” .
Richard Payne, with two convincing wins ( 21-8 and 10-5 ) proceeded to the “Plate” competition where his first knockout match resulted in a walkover because his opponent was absent sick. Richard won his second knockout match 11-6 and as a result proceeded to the quarter finals where unfortunately he fell short with a 4-10 defeat. In spite of this Richard was well pleased with his overall performance.
Jim Tingle also had two comfortable wins in the group stages ( 12-9 and 14-7 ) and as a result of these wins proceeded to the “Plate” knockout stage of the tournament. Unfortunately he was unable to take part in this part of the tournament because he was unwell.
Malcolm Saunders also had two wins in his group stage ( 10-6 and 11-9 ) to maintain the trend set by Richard and Jim of proceeding into the ” Plate” knockout stage of the tournament. In the “Plate” first round knockout, Malcolm narrowly lost his match 7-8 in what was a very low scoring game.
Overall it was an extremely enjoyable weekend of bowling against some of the best in the country and indeed in Europe.