Bowls: McCann feels at home on the carpet while Allcock takes knock-out format too literally

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GRAHAM ROBERTSON, seen above getting to grips with a wood, fought out a nail-biting battle with his fellow Scot Jim McCann before succumbing 7-6, 7-6, 1-7, 4-7, 7-6 in the quarter-finals of the Midland Bank World Indoor Bowls Championships at the Guild Hall, Preston yesterday.

For McCann, a 31-year-old carpet fitter, it was a first success in four attempts against his seventh-seeded opponent. 'I certainly picked the right one to break my duck,' he said. 'I'm sure Graham would have swapped his other three wins for this one.'

McCann, seeded 15th, will face Tony Allcock in the semi-finals, despite the fact that the 1986 and 1987 champion was knocked out - in the physical sense.

While he was waiting to start his quarter-final against Australia's Dennis Katunarich, Allcock walked into a pillar and rendered himself briefly unconscious. He quickly recovered, however, and declined an offer from tournament officials to put back the start of the match.

It was hardly surprising that Allcock was below his best early on and trailed 2-4 in the opening set. Nevertheless he came back to take it 7-5 and was never headed, breezing through to the last four by taking the next two sets, 7-3, 7-5. 'The accident was a bit upsetting but there was nothing else for it, I just had to play on,' Allcock said. 'I was happy with the way I played and it's pleasing to have reached the semi-final without dropping a set.'

MIDLAND BANK WORLD INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (Preston) Quarter-finals: J McCann (Sco) bt G Robertson (Sco) 7-6 7-6 1-7 4-7 7-6; T Allcock (Eng) bt D Katunarich (Aus) 7-5 7-3 7-5. Pairs semi-final: G Smith and A Thomson (Eng) bt I McClure and S Adamson (Irl) 7-5 7-2 7-3.

(Photograph omitted)