Spalding pair miss out in national final

Rebecca Simpson (left) and Annie Dunham
Rebecca Simpson (left) and Annie Dunham

Spalding’s Rebecca Simpson and Annie Dunham had to settle for collecting the women’s pairs runners-up trophy in the National Indoor Bowls Championships at Melton Mowbray.

They were beaten by Sue Kearsley and Janice Gower, from Blackpool Newton Hall, who made a remarkable recovery to snatch the title, turning an 11-4 deficit after ten ends into a 15-13 victory.

Simpson, who led well for Dunham, is expecting her first child - a baby girl - on May 14, but had brought all her medical notes to Melton Mowbray - “just in case!”

She will be back to challenge for the triples title later this week.

Simpson and Dunham were maids of honour at each other’s weddings.

“I wish we could have banked some of the shots we scored in earlier rounds,” said Dunham.

“I was always confident, and, even on the last end, I thought I had played the perfect shot with my last bowl, which was on target - but didn’t get the required result.”

After trailing 11-4, Kearsley and Gower scored 11 shots to their opponents’ two, taking the lead for the first time on the penultimate end, and clinching victory with a single on the 21st.

In a nail-biting semi final, the Spalding pair scored a double on the last end to break a 16-16 deadlock against Egham’s all-England pairing Kylie Hampton and Helen Tuohy, after Tuohy had seemed to tip the scales Egham’s way mid-game when she turned four-down into three-up.

They sailed through two rounds and into the semi-finals, beating the favourites Sandy Hazell and Wendy King from Kent, 24-5, and a pair from Rugby, 28-6.