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County Semis: End of the road for gallant Nelson

PUBLISHED: 11:30 18 July 2017

Bill Nelson of Ford Sports and Steve Gunnell of Bournemouth Park before their county singles semi-final

Bill Nelson of Ford Sports and Steve Gunnell of Bournemouth Park before their county singles semi-final

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Ford Sports bowler Bill Nelson went out in the semi-final of the county singles

Bill Nelson of Ford Sports on the mat in his county singles semi-final Bill Nelson of Ford Sports on the mat in his county singles semi-final

After all his great efforts in making the semi-finals of the county singles, it proved to be a day of frustration for veteran bowler Bill Nelson of the Ford Sports club at Westcliff on Saturday.

Nelson had never reached this stage of the prestigious competition before and he looked to have a great chance against left-hander Steve Gunnell of the Bournemouth Park club in the last four.

And when he opened up a 4-0 lead after the first end, it looked like that Nelson was going to find his best form.

But in the end it was not to be.

Bill Nelson of Ford Sports is through in the Geoff Hatfield Trophy Bill Nelson of Ford Sports is through in the Geoff Hatfield Trophy

“I was bowling well early on, but when he started to hit things I went off the rails a bit,” admitted Bill. “I was drawing and he was still getting them off.”

Nelson has been superb on the way to this stage, but on the big day, he simply couldn’t find his best form as Gunnell proved the more consistent.

“In parts I thought I playe well enough to win it, but other parts I dropped wood short,” he said. “Coming this way it is a yard slower than the other way.”

Perhaps the rub of the green went Gunnell’s way on the day, though his boldness deserved a lot of it.

“I was 16-12 and holding two very good woods and he has bounced off a wing wood and picked up a three and the last end was similar,” said Bill.

“There was no animosity between us, even when he was getting the nicks, it was played in a great spirit as we are mates.”

Nelson was stuck on five for a long time as Gunnell opened up a 10-5 lead, which he stretched to 16-7, before Bill finally picked up a three on the next.

But there was no way back for the Ford Sports man who eventually lost by 21-13.

“It has been a great run and I still have another chance in the third-place play-off, so we are always looking to the next game,” summed up Nelson.

He will take on youngster Conor Mathers in the battle for the last Leamington place on July 30 at Westcliff, while Gunnell will face Stuart Muir of The Springhouse in the final.

Things went no better for Nelson in the Essex semi-final of the National Champion of Champions as he was beaten 21-10 by Paul Smyth of the Larsen Club.

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