Dawes is crowned World Indoor Bowls Singles champion at Hopton
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Sometimes one word can sum up a sporting contest and when describing the final of the Just World Indoor Singles championship, in which Mark Dawes defeated Rob Paxton 8-7, 6-8, 2-0 at Potters Resort yesterday, gruelling, cagey or even attritional could be applied.
Until it edged into tiebreak territory, the match was hardly a classic, but it kept a capacity crowd of 1,200 or so on the edge of their seats, the drama arising from the closeness of the encounter and the contrast in playing styles between the two players.
If the result had depended on the position after each player had delivered two bowls, Dawes, a 35-year-old accountant from Radcliffe, near Bury, would have been a comfortable winner - but the 39-year-old Paxton, who works for a bowls retail outlet in Devon, was highly effective with his rescue attempts.
Over the first two sets, only 29 shots were scored in 22 ends. Sixth seed Paxton led 2-0 in the first set and Dawes, seeded 12th. led 5-3 in the second, but those were the only occasions in which more than one shot separated them.
In a patient game, Dawes played a weighted shot only once while Paxton, who was more often in trouble, attacked half-a-dozen time. Paxton seemed to lose patience in the tiebreak, and did some damage with accurate drives - but the Lancastrian's pin-point drawing won the day in the end.
It was a shame that what Paxton called 'a fake cough' from someone in the crowd disturbed him in the act of delivering his last ditch attempt to save the game on the second end of the tiebreak, and he scowled in the direction of the offender.
Dawes said: 'Crowd noise disturbed me once during the game but I started playing on the crown greens back at home and that sort of thing is part and parcel of the culture in the crown green code, so it didn't bother me too much.'
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Last year, Dawes was beaten in the first round by Charlie Bence, a sprightly 71-year-old Scot, but, after winning the Open Pairs with Jamie Chestney on Monday he has now won two world titles within one memorable week.
'I can't believe it,' he said. 'Whatever happens next, no-one will ever be able to take away the fact that I won the World Indoor Singles Championship in 2018!'