24 January, 2017
The ‘Just.’ World Indoor Bowls Mixed Pairs title decider turned into an epic two and a half hour head to head before the title eventually went to world number 1 Nicky Brett from Peterborough and Auchinleck’s Claire Johnston who denied Troon’s Paul Foster and Rebecca Field from Norwich 7-6, 7-9, 2-1.
It was a thoroughly engrossing exchange with both sided slogging it out in a riveting final with all four players producing an array of stunning shots that turned heads time and time again from the beginning right up until the very last bowl of a stunning tie break that kept the full auditorium on the edge of their seats.
Brett and Johnston made the early running and went 5-0 up after three ends, holding on to win the set 7-6, but a double on the last end of the second set saw Foster and Field win 9-7 to take the match to a best of three end shoot out, where the advantage changed with virtually every bowl.
Foster and Field took first blood. On the second end they held a match lie just two inches from a respotted jack and looked to have the title sewn up, but it was Brett who brought the house down when he produced an inch perfect draw to level the score at 1-1.
On the third and deciding end, with game against, Foster nominated to kill the end with his last bowl and obliterated the head with a thundering drive.
On the replay, this time with three shots against him he ditched the jack with his second bowl, but once again Brett rose to the challenge and drew the match winner about nine inches from the ditch. Foster made a gallant attempt to retrieve the situation with his last bowl but agonisingly just failed to stay on the green.
“We matched each other bowl for bowl, and it was great just to be a part of it all. The audience certainly got a lot of entertainment for their money ” said Brett, who, along with Johnston were savouring their first ever Mixed title.
“It was just THE biggest buzz, everyone was on top of their game and you had to play under pressure all the time, there was just to leeway”.