SEVEN Scots will be chasing the £15,000 winner’s cheque which comes with the BUPA Care Homes Open Bowls title beginning tomorrow.
The 64,000 event is set to be a colourful fixture following a transformation aimed at wooing armchair viewers.
Included in the changes is the traditional green mat which will be coloured blue and both players and umpires will wear colourful outfits.
Ball boys and girls will return the bowls after each end at the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool, to help speed up proceedings, a move which allows the spectators to be seated in a horseshoe around the play. There will also be a giant video screen for instant replays.
The BUPA swings into its eight-day action tomorrow and the Scots in the 32-strong field include Lothian stars Alex Marshall, Richard Corsie, Scott Kennedy and Steven Glen. The others are David Gourlay, Paul Foster and Hugh Duff.
Kennedy and Glen are qualifiers from the playdown system and the budding young stars from the Garden County are thrust into the limelight with cracking first-round tilts at world stage giants Richard Corsie and Alex Marshall.
Corsie and Marshall are seeded No.6 and No.2 respectively and will be short-priced but probably at their most vulnerable when cold in the opening match.
Kennedy and Glen are both sound players and with qualifiers having gone on to win this title in the past a modest punt on a shock first-round double could pay a big dividend.
Marshall, however, is the form choice to go on and reach the final and his odds to do so should be attractive as his half of the draw is a tough one with fellow world champions John Price, Robert Weale, Hugh Duff and Richard Corsie to contend with.
Holder and No.1 seed David Gourlay is a BUPA specialist having reached the last four finals, losing to Les Gillett (1997) and Ian Schuback (1999) and defeating John Price in 1998 and 2000.
All the first, second and third round matches will be decided over two sets of a seven end with a 1-1 result settled by a one-end tie breaker. The semi-finals and final will play two, nine-end sets and a set that finishes level will be decided by a one-end tie breaker.