Bowls star in baby drama

Sam EmanuelA rising bowls star from Norfolk is gearing up to take on the indoor bowls world champion in a crucial match tomorrow.Sam Emanuel

A rising bowls star from Norfolk is gearing up to take on the indoor bowls world champion in a crucial match tomorrow .

But his preparation will be a little less dramatic than it was for his first round match on January 6.

Just hours before the first contest, Tim Stone was at his wife Rebecca's bedside at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after she had given birth to their first baby, Harry.

Their son was expected on January 23 - the day before the world singles final at Potters Leisure Resort.

But complications with Mrs Stone's blood pressure meant the baby would have to be induced early, and it was going to be touch and go whether or not Mr Stone would make the first round of the competition, which was that evening.

The hospital staff's attempts to break Mrs Stone's waters failed, but a Caesarean operation went to plan and at 4pm she gave birth to a healthy 8lb baby boy.

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After the birth, Mrs Stone encouraged her husband to go and play the first round match, which he won.

The preparations for the second round contest look set to be calmer after the unforgettable drama of January 6.

The day was a quadruple celebration, because of Harry's birth, the fact it was on Rebecca's birthday as well as the baby's grandfather's 70th birthday, and the win, which means Mr Stone will go on to face world number one Alex Marshall in the second round of the competition at 2pm tomorrow.

He said: 'They had to make the first round match later because I wouldn't have made it because I was at my son's birth, but I somehow managed to win, even though I hadn't been practicing because of all the rushing around and trips to hospital.

'Things should be a bit calmer this time - I can't wait to play Alex Marshall, who is five times world champion. It's unbelievable to be able to play him; I never thought I would get this opportunity.'

Mrs Stone, who went home to Little Plumstead near Norwich, with her son for the first time on Monday, added: 'He had worked so hard to qualify for these events and pushed his way up, and I knew that I was ok and Harry was ok, so I wanted him to go and play in the first round, because the points are quite vital.'