Jamie Chestney and Mark Dawes were crowned World Indoor Pairs champions after beating 2014 winners Nick Brett and Greg Harlow in a gripping final at Potters, writes Dominic Picksley.
In a tight encounter, it came to two poor ends from the Brett and Harlow combo, which ultimately decided their fate.
Leading 6-3 with an end to go in the first set, they dropped a three to let Dawes and Chestney halve the set, and a big five on end five of the second set turned a 3-1 deficit into a 6-3 advantage for the Exonia-Blackpool Newton Hall double act, who never relinquished the lead again in taking the title, the first world crown for either player at Potters.
Defending Singles champion Paul Foster admitted he had been ‘trying too hard’ after edging past 67-year-old qualifier Lea Blackham on his first appearance at Potters this year.
The Scot had to battle through the emotions of recently losing his father, which led to him pulling out of both pairs events, and had to show plenty of resolve to overcome the Ipswich pensioner, who was making his debut in the blue riband tournament.
Foster, not surprisingly, looked off the pace early in the match and a confident-looking Blackham took advantage to wrap up the first set in convincing style to set up another potential giant-killing act following Andrew Kelly’s defeat of six-time winner Alex Marshall last week.
But Foster immediately replied with a full house on the first end of the second set and looked more like his old self as he breezed home 12-4 to trigger a three-end lottery.
Foster struck first, but Blackham took the second end to set up a winner-takers-all final end. Foster, though, produced the bowl of the match to nestle right up behind the jack and Blackham failed to respond and the Troon star went through.
In the day’s opening singles match, Harlow had to battle hard to finally overcome qualifier and last year’s World Under-25s runner-up Martin Puckett, edging past the Moonfleet 2000 ace on the final end of a tie-break.
There is the theory among some of the sport’s elite bowlers that a tough match sets them up for nicely for the rest of the competition and Harlow certainly got his wish as the youngster pushed him all the way, starting in the first set, where he collected a double on the final end to give him a 1-0 lead.
Harlow hit back in the second, but the 9-4 success made it look more comfortable than it was as every end was closely fought. Winning an end apiece made for a glorious finale and with Harlow holding shot, Puckett attempted to whip it off, but narrowly failed and victory was the City of Ely ace’s, who punched the air in delight.
Finally, Jason Greenslade gave his hopes of retaining his top-16 spot a boost by beating plucky Scot Robert Gordon for his first victory in the tournament for four years, triumphing in straight sets.