World Bowls Championships - proving bowls is a sport for all ages

09:16 30 January 2014

The World Indoor Bowls Championships have been taking place over the last two weeks and once again proved that Bowls is indeed a sport for all ages, writes Tony Broughton.

You may have seen that 18-year-old Katherine Rednall from Ipswich and a qualifier, won the Ladies World Indoor Singles Championship by beating the short priced favourite and last year’s champion Rebecca Fields in two straight sets, 14-4 and 11-3. Rebecca herself is only 24-years-old.

Katherine, who had to take time off school to play in the competition, is daughter to John Rednall an England International player.

At the other end of the spectrum, to show that older folk can still compete at world class level Katherine had to beat 69-year-old Eleanor Gass of Cumbria in the quarter final. In what other sport can you find a pensioner playing a school girl in the last eight of a World Championship?

Devon were also well represented in the Men’s Singles when Torquay’s Danny Denison, also a qualifier, got to the last 16 only to be beaten by the World Number 1 Paul Foster. Danny played really well, but Paul’s running conversion shots put Danny in all sorts of trouble.

Exonia’s brilliant Rob Paxton played Andy Thompson in the quarter final, the 58-year-old Scotsman has been an England International for well over 20 years and put up a good fight, but Paxton came out a two straight sets winner to play Darren Burnett, the Arbroath policeman, in the semi-final.

The boot was now on the other foot with Rob going down two straight sets to put Darren through to the final.

It was an amazing effort from Rob who is now provisionally rated number three in the world.

In the other semi-final Paul Foster played Mervyn King, a gamekeeper, whose suburb draw play put the world no 1 in real trouble and finally gave him a two sets win to take the other final spot.

In what turned out to be a thrilling final both players took one set each forcing the three-end decider set where only ends won count not shots.

At one end each both players had bowls within inches of the jack but Darren came out the winner and in his first appearance in the final became 2-1 World Indoor Singles Champion 2014.

I remember marking Darren’s first International appearance in the Home Internationals at Bournemouth in 1998 after he had won the Scottish under 25 title, I thought then he was going to be special!

The next big event in Bowls will be the Commonwealth Game in Glasgow in July this year.

Bowls as a sport for all ages is being vigorously supported by Sports England and the BBC hoping to encourage both young and old to take up the sport as a means of keeping fit and making friends.

If you want to keep in touch with the world of Bowls look at these websites; World Bowls Tour, the Professional Bowls Association, World Bowls, English Indoor Bowling Association (EIBA), Bowls England and Bowls Devon.

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