Tough test awaits Scots in Sheffield

PAUL Foster and Alex Marshall will be the lone Scots when today's Co-operative Funeralcare World Matchplay singles gets under way at the Ponds Forge International Arena in Sheffield, with the world Nos 1 and 5 respectively facing tricky routes to the final in the eight-player field.

In an event being covered for the fourth successive year by Sky, Foster will be making his first appearance as the world's top-ranked player. Neither Scot has taken this title before, with Marshall coming the closest two years ago, losing in the final 7-6, 5-9, 2-0 to Andy Thomson.

Both players are in opposite halves of the draw and could meet in tomorrow evening's final with five-times world singles champion Marshall facing Suffolk left-hander and No 4 seed Mark Royal, for a semi-final berth against defending champion Mervyn King or Devon's Ian Bond.

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Troon taxi proprietor Foster is up against Welshman Jason Greenslade in the last match of the day for a semi-final berth against either inaugural winner and reigning world champion Greg Harlow or Nottingham's Simon Skelton who is making his debut and is seeded No 7.