December 10 2013 Latest news:
David Rhys Jones
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Norfolk will hope to crown another world champion today after Norwich’s Rebecca ‘Bex’ Field reached the women’s matchplay final at Potters.
The 23-year-old, from the Norfolk Bowling Club, beat Kerry Packwood 8-7 8-7 yesterday to end speculation that today’s final might be a battle of the Welsh twins.
In the event Kerry’s identical 26-year-old sibling Kelly was overwhelmed by the skills of Guernsey’s Ali Merrien in the second semi-final – which gave a graphic warning of the challenge facing Field in this afternoon’s final.
Merrien crushed Kelly Packwood 7-6 11-1 to reach her fourth final in five years, having won the title in 2011 – so she will be a formidable opponent for the 23-year-old UEA languages graduate.
Field is herself the reigning England women’s singles champion, and has also won the national junior title twice, but she knew she would have to produce her best game to beat Kerry Packwood, and the game was intensely competitive, as both players showed off their drawing skills.
But the talented duo can play all the shots, and showed they were not afraid to unleash an attacking bowl or two when they were in trouble.
Looking at the scorecard, Packwood must have wondered how she managed to lose, because she led 7-2 with only three ends of the first set left to play – and was 7-5 ahead with two ends to play in the second set.
The answer tells us a lot about Field’s character and temperament. Just as she did against Laura Thomas in the quarter-finals she was able to dig deep and grind out a win. She duly finished the first set with a 2-1-3 sequence, then got home with a double and a single in the second.
The treble that got her over the line in the first set was reward for her good drawing, but itmust be said that her opponent was desperately unlucky with her final delivery, which looked spot on, but which left Field still holding the treble she needed for the set.
Her confidence boosted, Field took control in the second set to lead, 5-1, but Packwood charged back with a 1-2-3 sequence to lead, 7-5, before a brilliant Field double levelled the scores, and she sealed victory with a single on the very last end.
“It was a highly competitive game throughout, but we tended to score in phases,” said Field. “In team games, we both play at the back end of the rink, so playing attacking shots comes naturally to us. Winning the first set game me a big boost, and I think it came as a blow to Kerry, so I tried to take advantage at the start of the second set.
“She showed how dangerous she is when she hit back to lead, 7-5, but I had the psychological advantage of needing only to tie the set to win the match.”
There is an extra incentive for today’s finalists, Field and Merrien. The World Bowls Tour announced yesterday that the winner of the Women’s Matchplay will receive a wildcard invitation to compete in the Co-operative Funeralcare International Open in Blackpool next month – and will also qualify directly for next year’s world matchplay.