ON a day when illness wrecked the opening day of the annual singles tournament, defending champion John Price was in tip-top form to march on into the first round proper.

A number of preliminary round matches fell by the wayside and 'bye' was the word of the day as a host of players booked their place in the next round without having to step onto the green. But Price played in one of the few games that went ahead and came up against team-mate Jack Williamson.

In a close match, Price made a safe passage into the next round with a win over his Lower Darwen Memorial Club team-mate.

Another Darwen Memorial Club member safely made it through when Arthur Bibby saw off Marion Grundill of Nomads. Bibby was a quarter finalist last year and he will be hoping to progress even further this time out.

Jean Yates of Knuzden was the first lady to qualify when she beat Jim Duckett of Lower Darwen Memorial. And Ken Yates of Great Harwood beat Peter Flanagan of Queens Park to put his name his name into the hat.

Players who qualified through a bye were George Southworth of Queens Park 'A', Sheila Hodkinson of Roe Lee, Phylis Armstrong and Ken Dean of Audley House, Ken Earnshaw of Queen's Park Round 'A', Keith Bridge of St Stephen's 'A', Richard Haworth of Lincoln Green and event organiser Marion Cornall who plays for Rushton Street. First round matches will be played at Audley Sport Centre today (Wednesday).