The 2023/24 Men’s Major Singles Championship has commenced with 5 first round matches decided in great conditions on Saturday May 13 – the weather was great and the green played extremely well.

Four of the matches followed a very similar pattern with one player starting well only to be overtaken by the other.  Geoff Lee had a great start against Marcel Kors establishing a 13 – 4 lead after 8 ends.  Kors slowly bridged the gap and by the 15th end he only trailed by one shot at 15 – 16.

Marcel Kors preparing to bowl

Lee was able to gain some breathing space when he collected 3 shots on the 16th end only to see Kors once again move to within a single shot on the next end when he picked up 3 shots of his own.  In front 19 -18, Lee was able to extend his lead to 21 – 18 on the 18th end.  However, Kors was not to be denied as he won the next five ends.  On the 22nd end he moved ahead for the first time in the match going to 22 – 21.  He then completed the match on the next end with 3 shots to claim a hard earned 25 – 21 victory.

Mick Challice had the jump on Noel Downie setting up a 11 – 3 lead after 9 ends.  But over the next 5 ends Downie collected 13 shots to grab the lead at 16 – 11.  Challice remained competitive with the next section of the game a low scoring, tight affair.  Challice drew level after 23 ends at 19 all.  However, Downie steadied when needed and he won the next four ends to move into the second round winning 25 – 19.

Noel Downie commences his challenge for another title

John Wagstaff had the better of the early ends against Chris Coddington in what turned out to be a game of momentum swings.  Wagstaff lead 10 – 3 after 8 ends before Coddington won the next 5 ends to move to a 11 – 10 lead.  The players shared the spoils over the next stage of the game with Coddington having a narrow 18 – 16 lead after 22 ends.  The 23rd end proved critical with Coddington picking up 4 shots to put him in the box seat at 22 – 16.  He was able to close the match out from here winning 25 – 17.

Jonathan Green started well against Doug Williams moving to a 9 – 3 lead after 8 ends.  But as in the other matches at this point the game changed.  By the 12th end Williams had taken the lead at 11 – 9 and was never headed.  Green showed periods of resistance but Williams had the better of play to win 25 – 16.

In the final match of the day, new member Mark Velder found Alan McLeod too experienced and consistent. McLeod was in good form and won the clash 25 – 10.