Teenager skips Norfolk to national glory

Norfolk teenager Wayne Willgress swooped to conquer with a last-gasp sudden-death winner to steer his father Chris and lead Charles West to the Sporting Destinations English National Bowls Triples crown at Worthing.

Norfolk teenager Wayne Willgress swooped to conquer with a last-gasp sudden-death winner to steer his father Chris and lead Charles West to the Sporting Destinations English National Bowls Triples crown at Worthing.

Wayne, an 18-year-old giant of the green at six feet seven inches, and his Norfolk Club mates from Norwich, battled back after trailing England international Neil Hope and his men from Holwell Sports, Leicestershire, 4-1 after three ends of the final.

Willgress was soon on fire, stringing together four successive singles to edge ahead 5-4 and then added nine shots over six ends, the advantage to 14-8 with four ends to play. However, Hope staged a storming challenge, pulling back six shots on the run-in to draw level at 14-14, sending the encounter into an extra-end showdown.

Hope was poised to deliver the title when he held shot just three inches behind the jack but Wayne Willgress became the Norfolk hero of the hour when he clipped out the shot wood with a delivery of more than 30 yards to take the title, scoring a double to win the battle 16-14.


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There was delight as the three Norfolk stars exchanged high-fives on the green.

Later, Wayne Willgress said: “It's just fantastic to take this title. It is surely a dream come true to come to this arena and walk away as the champions.

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“The final was always going to be a hard-fought contest. Sure enough, the opposition came back at us in the closing stages, but we managed to hang on and it was gripping stuff at the extra end. Thankfully we got there with the last wood to take out their shot bowl. We could hardly have had a more dramatic finish.”

Earlier, in the semi-finals the Norfolk trio led Glyn Walls and his men from the Ford Sports club, Newbury Park, Ilford 7-5 after seven ends and then powered down to win 20-9.

Meanwhile, the Acle St Edmunds quartet of Barbara Meeks, Marion Himpleman, Andy Siely and Darren Rowsell, fell to defeat in the last 16 of the Friends of the EBA English National Mixed Fours.

Rowsell and company swept into a 7-2 lead against eventual champions Wiltshire, skipped by England International Graham Shadwell, who then cut loose with 13 shots over the next eight ends to hold a 15-10 advantage.

Back came Rowsell with a single and two doubles, slashing the gap to 16-15, but Shadwell produced a power-packed finish, notching up two trebles and a single to win 23-15.

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