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Gillett grabs glory from Welsh hosts; BOWLS: HJ Hall Welsh Masters, Llanelli.

Byline: DAVID RHYS JONES

WITH three Welshmen in the semi-finals, spectators at the Selwyn Samuel Centre in Llanelli were naturally hoping for an allWelsh final in the HJ Hall Welsh Masters yesterday.

But lone Englishmen Les Gillett denied them when he got past Port Talbot's John Price 1-6, 9-3, 2-1, and went on to beat Radnorshire's former world indoor singles champion, Robert Weale, 11-4, 6-11, 2-1 in an exciting final.

Weale, who had played in red all week, had to change into a blue tracksuit and choose a set of blue bowls for the final and he looked distinctly unhappy with his choice as Gillett took the first set at a canter.

But the world No 5 got his game together in the second set, forcing the match into a tense three-end tie-break.

Weale won the first end in the tie-break and was holding a championship lie in the second when Gillett drew his last bowl to the edge of the ditch and won a vital measure for shot.

And it was Gillett who held his nerve in what amounted to a sudden-death shootout - an aspect of the modern game that he was critical of at the start of the week.

"Since the new format was introduced, and we've all been playing with coloured bowls, I've gone out in the first round of three events, " Gillett said. "I was beginning to think I was fated never to win a tie-break."

Exorcising his demons, Gillett stormed through four tough matches winning each one on a sudden death shoot-out.

"Perhaps the England selectors will sit up and take notice now, " Gillett said, who was not called up to the international trial this winter - despite winning the English indoor singles title last April.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 2, 2002
Words:290
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