25 January, 2017
Club bowler Charlie Bence, a 71 year old retired coach trimmer from Blantyre may not have been the winner in his second round match of the ‘Just.’ World indoor singles campaign, but he was certainly the headline maker as he took defending champion and world number 1 Nicky Brett right to the very last nailbiting bowl of a tie break before bowing out 5-7, 10-4, 2-1 with a sensational display at Potters Resort earlier today.
There was no denying that Bence was the underdog and he was philosophical in his approach saying “there’s more pressure on Nicky than there is on me. I’m living my dream and it doesn’t get better than this!” Prophetic words indeed, as Bence soared to the occasion, giving the best display of his life over the one and a half hour match.
It was ‘game on’ from the off as he counted singles with his last bowl on the opening three ends then held a double before Brett smacked the head and he in turn scored a treble to level at 3-3. Successive singles followed for the Peterborough player to lead 5-3, but the underdog once again continually pulled out the big shots, none more so that firing Brett’s holding shot out of the head to take the first set 7-5.
He continued his rich vein of form much to the delight of the packed arena and once again went 3-0 ahead after three ends. Brett though regained some composure and reeled off a 2, 1 and 3 to lead 6-3 with Bence counting a single of the seventh. Brett though retaliated with back to back doubles to force a tie break 10-4, with that scoreline indicating that it had been a comfortable set for Brett when indeed it had been the opposite.
Brett encountered little trouble on the first end of the shoot-out, Bence played an astonishing inch perfect draw to level at 1-1 but then had to accept second best as a mightily relieved Brett scored the match winner to progress 2-1, It was a roller coaster of a match, with Bence putting Brett under the cosh as he hit his stride, enthralling everyone right from the start and they received a tumultuous standing ovation.
“Charlie was immense” complimented Brett later. “Over the opening ends I was just totally gobsmacked by the shots that he played. He continually put me under pressure. He truly had a dream game.
“I have total respect for him. I just coulnd’t find any way of shutting him out so I’m just happy to get through because for long parts of the game I was out of it”.