Reigning World Indoor Singles champion Darren Burnett got his 2015 defence off to a winning start despite labouring for an hour against fellow countryman, qualifier Andrew Barker.
Arbroath bobby Burnett, who beat Mervyn King to lift his first-ever World Indoor crown at Potters Leisure Resort last year, looked to have come out all guns blazing by picking up a double on the first end. But he struggled to find his rhythm for much of the first set thereafter, although he was helped by Barker who also struggled to find his line and length on the portable rink and eventually Burnett nicked the set 7-5.
A now composed Burnett looked more like his old self from there on in and despite the relatively close scoreline of 8-6 in the second set, the 38-year-old never looked in danger of being taken to a tie-break and thus set up a clash with Barker’s Elgin teammate Graeme Donaldson, who overcame 16th seed Wayne Hogg despite being whitewashed 13-0 in the first set.
Burnett said of his performance: “The first match is always the hardest and that was a tough one so I’m just happy to win through. I know what Andy is capable of so I just had to keep it tight
“It was a scrappy game, but with so many people leaving after the Pairs final, the temperature in the arena dropped and that changed the pace of the carpet. It was lifeless and you just couldn’t be consistent on it”.