Riverain’s Bradley Prowle, Glenn Williams and Tony Webb made up for their defeat in last year’s men’s triples final when they won an exciting and attritional battle on Tuesday evening.
They beat the Bedford Borough trio of Wayne Bailey. Ross Tomlinson and Alex Walton, 23-18 on day four of the EIBA National Indoor Bowls Championships at Melton IBC.
A brilliant take-out shot from Walton on the second end earned the Bedford boys a sensational count of six, but Riverain got their game together and had surged into a 13-7 lead by the seventh end.
Responding positively, Bedford put together a 2-4-1 sequence to get their noses in front at 14-13, but the ebb-and-flow match saw Riverain strike with a double, a treble and a four to lead 22-14 with only three ends left to play.
Bedford tried their best to bridge the gap, but Riverain held all the cards, and sealed a well-deserved 23-18 victory.
Prowle said: “I much prefer winning to losing - it’s a great feeling!”
A cracking semi-final ended in drama, when, to the delight of his team-mates, Walton produced a perfect draw to make the three shots which Bedford needed to beat Lincoln’s Kevin Rands, Danny Brown and Billy Jackson.
The Bedford trio opened strongly and took a 5-2 lead after four ends, but a run of six singles put Lincoln in front at 8-5 after 10 ends.
It was nip-and-tuck for the next five ends, but, when the 16th (and last) end got under way, Lincoln were two shots in front at 12-10.
Bailey set things up nicely for Bedford on the last end, but Brown killed the end, and, on the replay, Lincoln seemed to have the upper hand, until Welsh international Tomlinson, trailed the jack to give his side a chance.
Jackson’s accurate drive rearranged the head, but left Bedford holding two shots for a tie - and the nerveless Walton calmly added a third shot for a 13-12 victory.
In the other semi, the Hitchin-based Riverain trio ended the successful run of Atherley (Southampton) who were making their national championships debut.
With the Barrett brothers - Ben and Mick - at lead and skip, and Stewart Rowney slotting in mid-rink, the Atherley trio found it hard to make headway, and, when 63-year-old Mick Barrett played his best three shots on the 12th end to make the score 19-6, he held out his hand and threw in the towel.
* Norfolk, fielding former internationals Tony Dunton, John Ottaway and Brian Taylor, foiled Kent’s bid to become the first team to win the national men’s over 60 inter-county championship for a fourth time.
In the eight years since the event was introduced, the title had been won by only three counties - Kent and Northants three times apiece, and Hampshire twice.
Norfolk, traditionally one of the strongest counties, led from the start, but could never get far enough ahead to be sure of ultimate victory in a highly competitive match.
Tony Dunton’s rink led the winning charge with a 23-9 result, but Brian Taylor’s men were not far behind at 25-16, while team manager Charlie Boon skipped his men to a 17-11 win, and Mike King won by two shots, 18-16.
Roger Herridge’s rink replied for Kent with a 15-12 win, while, on the rink where Norfolk’s Bill Crittle took on Kent’s Peter Hurren, the honours were shared, 12-12.
“When I took over as team manager two years ago, we lost in the first round, but we reached the quarter-finals last year,” said team manager Boon.
“I can tell you that I am proud of the way the guys played today, bringing the trophy back to Norfolk for the very first time.”
Today’s order of play at Melton Indoor Bowls Club:
9.30am – Women’s Pairs last 16: Dolphin v Honiton; Blackpool NH v Taunton Deane; Tye Green v Hornsea; Acle v Banbury; Clevedon v Bromsgrove; Wellingborough v Swale; King George v Nottingham; Ipswich v Egerton Park.
1.30pm - Men’s Pairs last 16: Bournemouth v Acle; Blackpool NH v Falcon; Exonia v Bounds Green; Hartlepool v Adur; Barwell v Whiteknights; Huntingdon v Lincoln; Angel v Moonfleet 2000; Hounslow v Malvern Hills.
5.45pm - Men’s and Women’s Pairs quarter-finals.