GRAHAM Smith has made history by becoming the first ever player to retain the World Indoor Bowls Council singles crown.
The Spalding Indoor Bowls Club skipper beat home favourite Stewart Anderson in the final at the Islwyn IBC, near Caerphilly, in Wales.
A host of international players were in the field at the event, which kicked off with round robin group stages.
Smith opened up with a 2-0 victory over Welsh international Daniel Gough, before two more comfortable victories over Guernsey’s Matt Le Ber and Ireland international David Corkill saw him reach the knockout stages.
In the quarter-final Smith was pitched against another Irish international in John McCulloch. Despite losing the first set, a change of tactics saw a change in fortunes, with the Spalding man reaching the last four.
Smith was then up against local player Carl Wood, who represents Wales at junior level, in the last four. Despite being 10-1 down after four ends in the first set, he battled back to win it 13-11, then took complete control in the second, setting up a showdown with Anderson.
Home favourite Anderson, who previously represented Scotland but now wears Welsh colours, started well – but Smith settled to clinch the first set 9-6.
The second set was even closer with the crowd enjoying an excellent standard of play but despite their efforts cheering on the home player, Smith clinched it 9-8 to become the WIBC singles champion.
He’s now targeting a hat-trick in 2012.