History was made at the inaugural World Bowls Indoor Championships in Bristol yesterday, when, for the first time, a husband faced his wife in the final of the mixed pairs event.
Scotland’s Stewart Anderson had been invited to these championships as the International Indoor Bowls Council’s reigning men’s singles champion, and was duly partnered by the holder of the IIBC women’s singles title, Alison Merrien, from Guernsey, while Scot Mike Stepney, from Elgin, partnered Stewart’s wife Claire. So the final, which was always going to be fascinating, had an extra dimension.
All four finalists looked tired – and they were entitled to, having spent ten hours on the green during the day – but the quality of bowls was astonishing, the leads consistently setting up good heads, and the skips often converting with inch-perfect deliveries.
And it was the favourites, Alison and Stewart, who came out on top, predictably on a tiebreak, winning the title with a 7-8 8-6 1-0 scoreline.
In the semi finals, Merrien and Anderson (S) scorched to a 10-1 14-3 victory over Ireland’s Lara Reaney and Gary Kelly, while Anderson (C) and Stepney needed a tiebreak before they overcame South African duo Colleen Piketh and Jason Evans.
Photo: Newly-crowned world indoor mixed pairs champions Stewart Anderson and Alison Merrien MBE.