EIBA National Finals at Melton: Home hopes dashed by champions Blackpool

EIBA Men's Pairs champions - Jonathan Goodall and Mark Dawes (Blackpool Newton Hall) EMN-180204-173255002
EIBA Men's Pairs champions - Jonathan Goodall and Mark Dawes (Blackpool Newton Hall) EMN-180204-173255002
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Having dashed home hopes, Blackpool duly won the men’s pairs final in convincing fashion last Thursday – in stark contrast to the tightest of semi-finals.

The Blackpool pair of Jonathan Goodall and Mark Dawes pipped Melton’s Les Gillett and Chris Rodgers 13-12 in a last-four tie in which the gap between the two pairs was never more than three shots.

EIBA Women's Pairs champions Ruby Hill and Chelsea Tomlin (Spalding) EMN-180204-173306002

EIBA Women's Pairs champions Ruby Hill and Chelsea Tomlin (Spalding) EMN-180204-173306002

Gillett and Rodgers scored a treble on the second end to take the early initiative before Blackpool replied with a treble of their own on the next.

But the other 16 ends produced 13 singles and only two doubles, as the teams went into the last end all-square at 12-12.

Melton-born Rodgers earned applause when he set up a match lie, but world champion Dawes promptly turned things around as Blackpool took the vital single.

Dawes, who won the World Indoor Singles and Open Pairs titles in January, had twice lost in the final with his brother John, but teamed up with Goodall, a three-time winner in the national mixed fours.

Chris Rodgers (right) and Les Gillett stand by as Blackpool plot their next move EMN-180204-173549002

Chris Rodgers (right) and Les Gillett stand by as Blackpool plot their next move EMN-180204-173549002

“That makes it third time lucky, which is a good feeling,” he said. “You could say I’ve had a pretty good season,”

They defeated 2015 pairs champions Mike Knight and Rob Newman, from the Whiteknights club in Reading, 22-8, in the final.

As well as Goodall played, it was Dawes who made the difference, and, if the opposition left him with six inches to draw the shot, he invariably did.

The final was a close game for the first eight ends when Blackpool narrowly led 9-7, but Dawes and Goodall pulled away in the second half, compiling a 2-3-1-1-4-2 sequence, punctuated by a solitary single for the Reading pair.

* The women’s pairs final also capped a fine season for Chelsea Tomlin (24) who added the title to an impressive list of achievements this year.

She was also runner-up in the national women’s under 25 singles, won the national mixed fours title, and captained England to the British Under 25s team title.

With her clubmate, Ruby Hill (18) the young duo gave Spalding their third national title of the championships following Graham Smith’s win in the men’s two bowl singles, and the men’s fours triumph.

Hill and Tomlin went up against defending champions Sandy Hazell and Wendy King, from the Swale club in Sittingbourne.

The Spalding duo’s prospects looked bleak when Swale led 11-5 after 11 ends, and they were still 13-9 adrift with only four ends left to play.

But with the drawing skills of Hill, and Tomlin’s knack of playing conversion shots, they picked up a treble, a single and a double to lead 15-13 as the last end got under way.

Brilliant play from King set up a lie of two shots for Swale, but Tomlin sent the jack into the open, and drew the winning shot with her very last bowl for a memorable 16-13 victory.