ABERLADY'S Billy Mellors booked his place in the second round of the World Indoor Bowls Championships tonight with a nail-biting win over the number nine seed Jason Greenslade.

Qualifier Mellors, 49, who had not played in the competition for more than 20 years, made an assured start at Potters Holiday Resort, Norfolk, opening up a 6-1 lead after six ends before taking the first set 7-5.

But Greenslade, representing Guernsey, came thundering out the blocks in the second set, surging 10-1 ahead after six ends before winning it 10-4 to force a tie-break.

Greenslade won the first end of the tie-break, and Mellors the second, but it was the East Lothian man who held his nerve in the decisive end to claim victory.

He said: “I’m happy to get a win at the World Championships after all these years.

“I started the game well and did not give Jason many chances early doors. But he is a class player and as I kind of fell away in the second set  Jason came into the game.

"You always have the tie-break to fall back on once you’ve got the first set  and in the last end of the tie-break I managed to play probably my best end in the whole game so it was pleasing.”

READ MORE: Bowls legend Marshall pays tribute to Billy Mellors 

Mellors, who before his opening match saw his odds to win the title plummet from 150-1 to 28-1 (he is now 16-1), is now due to play his second round match next Thursday, January 18, against either Nick Brett of England or Northern Ireland's Alastair Coleman.

Watching from the sidelines was Mellors' good friend and East Lothian team-mate Alex Marshall, who has won the open singles at the World Indoor Championships an incredible six times.

Marshall, of Tranent, plays his opening match of the 2024 tournament this Thursday (January 11) against Greg Harlow.

The World Indoor Bowls Championships can be watched live via YouTube