Mitchell Young evaluates his season so far and previews his chances in the final Short Mat Players Tour (SMPT) event coming up this weekend…
Currently sitting 22nd in the Order of Merit, which takes into account this seasons performances I want to end this 2015/16 season with my best performance yet.
Considering I missed the first two events due to being away on holiday, overall I don’t think it’s been a bad effort, even if I say so myself! However, the competitiveness in me is saying that’s good but not good enough.
Back in November I competed in my first European Masters over in Herentals, Belgium where I managed to reach the final 16, but eventually lost out to fellow Englishmen, Nigel Reed who in all fairness played me off the park.
In between the ranking events was the World Fours and Pairs, where I had my best weekend’s performance in the SMPT and made it through to the semi-finals in the Fours and collected a whopping £32.50 in prize money.
The Pairs was also a strong finish having reached the quarter-finals, with fellow Tour player, Dan Winmill.
Then on it was over to Stromstad in Sweden for the start of 2016. I was really getting used to this jet-set lifestyle. It was probably one of the best events I’d attended with great hospitality and facilities, but performance wise, I had a disappointing tournament – falling at the first knockout hurdle in the last 64.
Fast forward to the English Masters in February and I had a solid performance, reaching the last 16 for the second time this season, before being knocked out by Pauline Beattie – one half of the 2014 World Pairs Champions.
As we tee up for the final SMPT event of the season, The World Masters in Belfast, where 210 players will battle it out for one of the biggest prizes in Short Mat bowls.
Currently sitting 35th in the World Rankings, which takes into account ranking points from the last three seasons, I feel that this is a comfortable reflection of where I’m at, but I know I still have a lot more to give and achieve.
Pushing past the last 16 seems to be my nemesis at the moment – I haven’t been able to progress past this stage since the SMPT’s first year where I managed a quarter-final place, but with less players.
This year has not been my best in Short Mat bowls and if I’m honest probably one of my worst, however as the season comes to an end I still want to finish it as best I can.
So I’m going into this tournament my eyes firmly fixed on achieving a spot in the SMPT World Cup, where the top four highest ranked players in each country will represent their country in the World Cup – which will take place before the first event of the new season in August.
Although I need to have the best performance I have ever produced to get close to snatching a late spot (currently sitting 8th in England 109 points off a World Cup position).
A good preparation for the tournament is the 2 Bowl World Masters on Friday, which will get my arm in ready for the tournament at the Weekend.
Wish me luck!
For more information and updates on how I get on at the Short Mat Players Tour then check out the http://shortmatplayerstour.com/