EIBA Natioal finals at Melton: Bird and Gower crowned singles champions

EIBA Men's Singles champion Jack Bird (Scarborough) EMN-180204-173233002
EIBA Men's Singles champion Jack Bird (Scarborough) EMN-180204-173233002
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Apprentice motor mechanic Jack Bird made off with the national men’s indoor singles title on the championship’s final day on Saturday.

The Scarborough bowler made his international debut for England Under 25s in 2016, but having been dropped this winter, he gave the national team selectors a big nudge at Melton.

EIBA Women's Singles champion Janice Gower (Blackpool Newton Hall) EMN-180204-173244002

EIBA Women's Singles champion Janice Gower (Blackpool Newton Hall) EMN-180204-173244002

Things did not look good for Bird when he dropped a full house of four shots, and trailed Mikey Titcombe (Swindon Westlecot) 6-0 after two ends in the semi-finals. But he kept his head, and fought back to win 21-18.

In the final, against Torquay United’s Ryan Whitlock, the score was 4-4 after eight ends, but the Yorkshire star took control, powering into a 17-5 lead after 18 ends.

He dropped a full house on the 18th end, but got home, 21-10.

Earlier, Whitlock had shown a clean pair of heels to Hartlepool’s Paul Hartley, but the impeccable drawing he had shown in that 21-8 win, deserted him in the final.

* The Blackpool Newton Hall club celebrated its second national title when Janice Gower took the women’s singles to add to Jonathan Goodall and Mark Dawes’ men’s pairs win.

Gower has been a regular in the English women’s team since 2009, but was an unused reserve in the latest international series in Paisley, which was won emphatically by England.

Gower must harbour hopes of a recall for the 2018/19 season after edging home 21-20 against 16-year-old sensation Devon Cooper who also lost the 2017 final by the same scoreline.

Cooper broke all records in 2016, when she partnered her Riverain clubmate Rachel Tremlett to the national women’s pairs title at the age of 14.

Gower (45) opened up a big lead in the final, and was 9-2 ahead after only seven ends, but after stretching her lead to 16-8 after 15, she was kept in check as the youngster found her touch.

It was 17-14 to Gower after 19 ends, and 20-15 after 22, but Cooper drew level with a double and a treble, before the Lancashire bowler sealed it on a seesaw 25th end.