Bowls: Duff proves too tough for Bantock

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Scotland's Hugh Duff endured some anxious moments in the first round of the Saga World Indoor Singles Championship at Preston yesterday before beating the English champion, Mark Bantock, in four sets.

Duff, last year's beaten finalist, had to come from 4-5 down to claim the opening set 7-5 and then took the second 7-4, despite having to take a break because of the flu bug he has been suffering from.

Bantock fought back to keep the game alive taking the third 7-1, but Duff dominated the fourth, winning 7-2 in seven ends to record victory.

"It was a very hard game. Considering it was Mark's first appearance in Preston he played exceptionally well and produced a lot of good pressure bowls," Duff said.

England's Gary Smith also survived a scare before edging through with a four-set win over the Hong Kong qualifier Tony Tong. Smith dropped the opening set 5-7, but quickly hit back taking the second in just three ends. The No 13 seed turned around a 5-2 deficit in the third set to win it 7-5, and then cruised through in the fourth.