Foster rolls back the years to clinch world title glory
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.