Foster rolls back the years to clinch world ti­tle glory

The Herald - Herald Sport - - BOXING - ANNE DUNWOODIE

NEARLY 20 years af­ter win­ning his first world in­door sin­gles ti­tle at Pre­ston in 1998, Scot­land’s Paul Foster racked up ti­tle num­ber five as he left City of Ely’s Greg Har­low, the cham­pion in 2010, reel­ing on the ropes, in the Just World In­door Cham­pi­onship ti­tle de­cider at Pot­ters Re­sort in Nor­folk yesterday.

Har­low was the first to set­tle. A sin­gle fol­lowed by a full count of four on the third end put him 5-2 up in the best of two sets of the eleven-end fi­nal, and ba­si­cally from that point seem­ingly stayed in con­trol of the game, fend­ing off a late chal­lenge from Foster to win 10-7.

How­ever, from there on in it was one-way traf­fic with Foster rack­ing up the shots to his favoured short length jack and cruis­ing home in the sec­ond 11-1 with two ends to spare to take the match to a best-of- three-end shootout.

In his pre­vi­ous four matches, No.4 seed Har­low had won through with a fore­hand drive with his last bowl against Tony Webb to avoid a tie break, but against James Rippey, David Gourlay and then Ste­wart An­der­son it was this tac­tic that saw him through to the fi­nal with the very last bowl on the last end of each of the three tie breaks.

And it very nearly hap­pened again yesterday, with Foster tak­ing the first end and then Har­low miss­ing by a puff of air in the sec­ond with his last bowl to leave Foster as the new cham­pion.

How­ever, amaz­ing sta­tis­tics show that through­out the match Foster scored on six­teen of the twenty-two end match which in­cluded the tie break and with­out count­ing the two ends that weren’t played in the sec­ond set.

And, from trail­ing 9-4 in the open­ing set, and de­spite los­ing 10-7, he won thir­teen of the next fif­teen ends.

Coin­ci­den­tally, on his way to the ti­tle in 1998 and 2005, he also beat No.15 seed Les Gil­lett and he did that again in this year’s semi-fi­nal, win­ning 11-4, 5-5.

Foster smiled and said: “Af­ter what had hap­pened in pre­vi­ous matches, I couldn’t look when Greg played that last bowl. I looked at him and he was stalk­ing his bowl and knew that he was close so when it missed the head by a prover­bial ‘coat of paint’ I just punched the air. Greg was su­perb in the open­ing set. He put me un­der the cosh with his early bowls and I wouldn’t have de­served to win the first set, but that was the dif­fer­ence in the sec­ond set.

“I short­ened the jack length and it was my turn to pep­per the jack. My first bowl was bang on ev­ery time.”

Yesterday’s win brings Fos­ters to­tal of WBT ti­tles to eleven, con­sist­ing of five sin­gles, four pairs and two mixed pairs to equal the num­ber held by Tony All­cock.

Alex Mar­shall holds the record with 13.

HIGH FIVE: Paul Foster landed his fifth world in­doors sin­gles ti­tle.

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