JOHN Gurney says he will take no notice of bookmakers that rate him as an outsider to win one of the biggest prizes in bowls.

He makes his sixth appearance at the British Senior Individual Merit, referred to by bowlers as the ‘All England Championships’, on Saturday more than a decade after his previous one.

“There are guys with longer odds than mine!” he quipped on Monday.

“It doesn’t bother me, and I don’t think about stuff like that too much.

“I’ve had five goes at it, so I know what I’m letting myself in for!”

He makes a short trip to Grange Club, in Warrington, as a reward for reaching the last four in the Cheshire Senior Merit last month.

Northwich Guardian:

Grange Sports Club in Warrington today, all geared up for tomorrow's competition

Northwich Guardian:

Northwich Guardian:

With only three places up for grabs, the Castle regular edged long-time rival Glynn Cookson (Wharton Cons) because he collected more chalks in a 21-20 reverse against Gerald Merry (Delamere).

Tommy Johnstone, who won the final, will be the county’s other representative this weekend.

Gurney said: “There have been a few jokes flying around after three old-timers got through.

“Glynn, who has just turned 60, also beat Noel Burrows in the last 16 – and he’s in his mid-70s!

“I don’t think any of us doubt our ability to win a one-off game, and it’s nice to remind the younger ones of that.

“I’m unsure if I’ve got five or six games in a day inside me though – you might have to drag me out of the bar and onto the green to get through that many!”

He begins his latest bid by meeting Ross Dunkley, from Warwick & Worcester, in the first round.

A testing draw pits the victor of that contest against Ross Meese, the South Yorkshire Merit champion and a runner-up in 2017, or North Lancs & Fylde star Simon Coupe in the last 32.

Gurney has not gone beyond that stage in previous attempts.

He added: “If I reached the last 16, then I’d be really happy because it would mean I’ve won more games than in the past as well as knocking out somebody like Simon to do so.

“People have said to me that I’m in a tough quarter of the draw, but the reality is that no mugs get this far so it doesn’t really matter.”

Merry will meet Dan Varcoe (Cumbria) in his opener while Johnstone has been paired with Ryan Clark (South Yorkshire).

Meanwhile defending champion Darren Plenderleith (North Midlands) has a testing opener against Peter Dunkley (Warwick & Worcester).

Play starts at 10am.