Bowls player Rowland to meet defending champion in live TV clash

A SHOT AT THE TOP: Sudbury Bowls Club player Lee Rowland, who will play world number one Paul Foster at the Scottish International Open next week. Picture: Helen Whitcombe. MSFP-02-11-11 HW 009
A SHOT AT THE TOP: Sudbury Bowls Club player Lee Rowland, who will play world number one Paul Foster at the Scottish International Open next week. Picture: Helen Whitcombe. MSFP-02-11-11 HW 009

AFTER qualifying for his first ever World Bowls Tour event, Sudbury player Lee Rowland will face the biggest match of his life in front of the BBC television cameras on Monday (1pm), writes Russell Claydon.

The 32-year-old faces defending world champion and world number one Paul Foster on his home soil in the opening round of the indoor season’s first major event, the Co-op Funeralcare Scottish International Open.

But the Newton Green resident, who is one of only four qualifiers to make the 32-strong competition line-up will go into the showdown, screened live on BBC Scotland and via the red button in England, with no fear.

“It has just been amazing really,” Rowland said. “I beat David Corkill, who does the commentary for the BBC, in the final (of qualification in Belfast) and to play against him was great.

“To qualify was out of this world and when I found out I had got the number one, it was even better and I have nothing to lose.

“I will turn up and play my best and see where it takes me.”

The week-long competition at the Dewers Centre in Perth will be the pinnacle of Hadleigh’s Buyright discount superstore garden centre manager Rowland’s bowling career, with his previous best achievement seeing him come runner-up in the English Bowling Federation Naitonal Singles tournament last year.

His mother and father, Joy and Graham Rowland - the latter with who he reached the semi-finals with in the EIBA National Championships Father and Son competition in 2009 - got him into the sport at the age of 12 and both are still members of Sudbury Bowls Club.