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A look back on the Just 2020 World Indoor Bowls Championships

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The Just 2020 World Indoor Bowls Championships has come to a close and what an event it was! Here is a summary of some of the highlights of the last week…

20 January – Pairs Final

England’s Greg Harlow and Nick Brett regained the Just World Indoor Bowls Championships Pairs title after an epic showdown with four time winners and defending champions Paul Foster MBE and Alex Marshall MBE from Scotland. It was a final of the highest quality and some incredible bowls were played, which we will come on to later!

In the first set Greg and Nick won 10-6 and the second set saw some inch perfect deliveries, with the Scot’s winning 8-6, pushing towards a best of three end tie break. Greg and Nick went on to win 2-1.

It was a sensational game from all and had everyone on the edge of their seat. We caught up with Nick, who said: “It was an outstanding game and we play Paul and Alex a lot, and it always feels like the hardest game in the world as they never give you anything. You think you are doing well and then Alex plays a monster! It feels fantastic to win and it was very close – even on the last bowl!”

21 January – Mixed Pairs Final

Just 24 hours after getting the Pairs title, Greg and Nick had to face each other on opposite sides for the Mixed Pairs Final.

Nick teamed up with Marion Purcell from Wales, while Greg was with Alison Merrien MBE.

Greg and Alison dominated the first set before losing out 7-6, and it was almost an identical scenario in the second with Greg and Alison doing all the hard yards and looking like they would take the set, but it wasn’t to be. Nick and Marion trailed 7-3, but on the penultimate end Nick ditched the jack to grab a lifeline single, leaving them requiring a count of four shots to win the set or, at the very least, a treble would have been good enough with a shared scoreline giving them a win by one and a half sets to a half. Marion left Nick holding two, and he added two more green bowls to the head. Greg tried to alter the position but found the narrowest of gaps, then missed again with his last delivery, leaving Nicky and Marion counting a set-winning four shots to take the title 8-7.

Nick said after: “I felt like we should have worn a balaclava in the first set – we definitely had Lady Luck on our side”.

22 and 23 January – bowls goes viral!

The whole world was talking about bowls thanks to an incredible bowls moment that took place on Monday at Potters Resort when the Open Pairs Final of the Just 2020 World Indoor Bowls Championships took place and Nick Brett achieved a perfect bowl – and that moment has gone viral! The clip has had over nine million views, was the talk of BBC Breakfast and ESPN, and celebrities like Piers Morgan and Katherine Ryan were even tweeting about it!

We caught up with Nick Brett to find out what he made of the clip going viral: “Obviously it is amazing and unexpected – and it just happens that it is me that did this bowl which has gone viral but it could have been any of us! It wasn’t too bad a shot! All of us deliver high quality bowls, and the best thing is people talking about what a skilled game bowls is, so this is just really positive for bowls as a sport.”

23 January – Ladies Final

Scotland’s Julie Forrest delivered an impressive display in the Ladies Singles Final to retain the title she won last year against Guernsey’s Alison Merrien.

This time, against Janice Gower, who was making her debut in a WBT final, Julie dominated from the opening ends and ran out a convincing winner 8-7, 15-3.

Julie said: “I was nervous to start with but once I got going I felt very comfortable on the rink from my very first bowl and was really quite impressed by the way I played. I felt really comfortable on the green and it feels fantastic and I can’t believe it. I’ll be back next year to do battle.”

25 January – Under 25s Final

20-year-old University of Southampton undergraduate William Moulton was crowned the Just World Under 25 champion, denying Scotland’s Keiran Clinton the title.

Keiran was all over William in the first set and held a commanding 10-4, eight end lead, but William picked up his game and stormed over the finishing line with a stunning 2, 4 and 2 finish to wrap up the set 12-10. In the second set, William, grew in confidence and chalked up scores on six of the eight opening ends to forge into a 7-3 advantage.

Keiran hauled himself back into contention and looked poised to overturn the first set result when he scored doubles on three of the next four ends to go into the last end 9-8 up. He held a set lie which would have taken the match to a three end shoot out, but a last bowl draw from William gently feathered his own front bowl to the jack to take the vital shot that squared the set at 9-9 and gave William the title by one and a half sets to a half.

William said: “It is the perfect result and it has been fantastic here at Potters and I have been welcomed by everyone. I’m going to have a good night celebrating.”

26 January – Open Singles Final

It was third time lucky for Robert Paxton when he won the Just 2020 World Indoor Bowls Championships for the first time, after just missing out on the title in 2016 and 2018. And it all came down to the last end of a tie break with Nick Brett narrowly missing out 7-10, 8-7, 2-1 in the final.

Proving he’s the cream of Devon, we caught up with Robert, who said: “It’s always nice to get your first win and Nick played an incredible game, and it was a really close match. I’ve been close to the title a couple of times and so this win feels really special. Potters is a fantastic venue to play and stay, and we are always looked after extremely well. The Just World Indoor Bowls Championships and the Open Singles title is the one to win and when you step out on the rink, you just focus on the job in hand. Today was my day and it feels fantastic.”

Let’s do it all again next year!