Final match here in the International Arena for the day was local hero Wayne Willgress from Norwich up against the great Andy Thomson MBE and that promised to be a special match. Another packed auditorium with coachloads of supporters on Willgress it promised to be a noisy affair. It was indeed a sensational match from both players.
Willgress was certainly well on form as he played inch perfect bowls putting Thomson under immediate pressure from the first end onwards. Wayne was inch perfect in his bowls but Thomson managed to find an inch perfect one to end one with a single. In ends two and three it was Willgress that played brilliantly as he took a single and a treble, followed by a single each in the next two ends. Thomson again played superbly against inch perfect bowls from Willgress to take a single in end six but it was Willgress with incredible bowls that took the next two ends and set 3,9.
Into set two and it looked as if Willgress had just relaxed slightly, Thomson upped his game and was devastating to Willgress. At end four it was Thomson that was in the driving seat as he built a 4,3 lead. Then the wheels came off the Willgress wagon as Thomson took a full house of four, swiftly followed by two singles and capped off with a brilliant double to take set two 12,3. Tie break time.
And what a tie break it was, it had the crowd roaring for both players and on the edge of their seats as both players raised their respective games to the topmost level. End one and it was Willgress that drew an inch perfect toucher, Thomson launched two drives and missed, Willgress put in cover bowls and Thomson attempted the inch perfect draw with his last bowl to no avail, first end to Willgress.
Second end and Willgress puts first bowl as a back toucher, Thomson draws and just goes behind, Willgress decides to cover the respot. Thomson takes timeout to look at it and decides to play a drive, he collects the jack but it goes into the ditch sideways and it is a respot. Willgress attempts the dead draw and goes a mere 6inches behing the jack and Thomson calmly draws one inside to take shot. One bowl each left and Willgress drives at the jack, it connects but – horror – it rebounds back up the rink 3 yards and Thomson calmly draws it – one end apiece.
It becomes a one end 3 bowl shootout and there is nothing in it as both players attempt to gain the advantage. One bowl each left and Willgress is holding a superb shot, he elects to go for cover – Thomson has last bowl, he nominates a killed end and launches a drive – he misses and the crowd erupt as local hero Wayne Willgress and Potters Resort wildcard goes into the second round to face Scotlands’s Stewart Anderson next week.