SPALDING Indoor Bowls Club’s under-25 double rink side suffered national final heartache in a tense extra end defeat against Torquay United.
The duo went blow for blow in a sensational finale, finishing locked together on 33 shots each after both sets finished 23-10 in the others’ favour.
Four teams travelled to Melton Mowbray with high hopes of becoming national club junior champions. Torquay comfortably dispatched Egham, while Spalding won a close game against Desborough 46-38 to set up a mouth-watering final.
With the majority of the crowd behind them, Spalding started well, as Martin Spencer’s rink of Andy Dawson, Ashley Caress and Matt Whyers picked up five shots to lead 5-2.
The other set saw Calvin Leuty joined by Charlie Leuty, Ben Wilson and Annie Bellamy. They raced into an 8-3 lead, before England international Louis Ridout turned on the style to help his team win the next 11 ends.
Spencer’s rink were playing another international in Sam Tolchard, but some quality bowls saw the Spalding side take control and set up a thrilling finish.
Leuty lost 23-10, but Spencer’s victory by the same score set up an extra end shoot-out. It was Torquay who managed to hold on and edge out the Spalding team by one shot in what was a fantastic advert for bowls.
l JUNIOR international Wayne Willgress won the Stonehaven Residential Home sponsored under-25 Spalding Open, beating clubmate Matt Flatman in the final.
The Norfolk pair put on an excellent display of bowling in the final, with Willgress finally winning 2-0 on sets. The event was a quick-fire format of three bowl singles and was best of three sets, with each one consisting of just three ends.
There were a number of shocks in the group stages, with plenty of top players failing to make the quarter finals.
Spalding’s Andy Dawson went out to Katherine Rednall (Ipswich) in the last eight, while Willgress dispatched Boston’s Jonathon West – last year’s runner-up – in a close contest.
Ely’s Rob Elmore and Flatman completed the semi-final line-up, with the latter ending the hopes of local ace Calvin Leuty.
Both last four clashes were worthy of being a final, with Willgress squeezing past Rednall and Flatman edging out Elmore to set up an all Norfolk final.
Played in front of a large crowd, Willgress settled into the final the quickest and maintained control throughout to collect the £350 first prize. Matt’s consolation was an cool £150.
Everyone involved with organising the event did Spalding proud, while Stonehaven’s Michael and Marie Penfold presented the prizes to the finalists.