Norfolk star Chestney will provide local interest in World Indoor Pairs Final
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The final of the Just World Indoor Pairs Championship at Potters will see Blackpool's Mark Dawes and Norfolk-born Jamie Chestney, who now plays for the Exonia club in Exeter, facing a challenge from 2014 champions Greg Harlow and Nick Brett, who are currently ranked one and two in the world.
Yesterday, in an enthralling semi-final, Dawes and Chestney, two relative newcomers to the World Bowls Tour elite, defeated Jonathan Ross from Paisley and Rob Paxton, who plays for the Ilminster club in Somerset, 2-10, 6-4, 2-0.
Harlow and Brett used to be clubmates at the City of Ely bowls club, and, apart from their technical skill, form one of the most compatible partnerships in the sport. They reached the final with a 6-4, 4-5, 2-0 win over Suffolk's Mark Royal and veteran Anglo Scot Andy Thomson.
With both semi-finals going into tie-break territory, the thousand or so avid fans in the spectators' gallery were kept in the edge of their seats, and had excellent value for money.
There were simply too many miraculous bowls played over 31 ends between 2pm and 6.30pm to try to describe them in any detail, but the players went through their extensive repertoire, drawing beautifully to the jack, and attacking when necessary with uncanny accuracy.
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The change from two-bowl to three-bowl pairs this year seemed to help one player more than anyone else. Studying the statistics, Norfolk-born Chestney, who now lives and plays in Devon, delivered an inch-perfect coup-de-gras with his final delivery on the last five ends.
Ross and Paxton, who won the first set at a canter 10-2, were looking home and dry when they led 4-1 in the second set but Chestney's magic was enough to swing the game as he and Dawes compiled a 1-1-2-1 sequence to force a tiebreak, then scored back-to-back singles to win the tiebreak.
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'We thought we had done enough to win that game, but you can't legislate for someone playing a sequence of incredible bowls,' said Paxton, who won the pairs with Simon Skelton three years ago. 'We know he's capable of doing it, but today he was phenomenal.'
The final is scheduled to be played next Monday.