Janice Gower completed a great week at the English Indoor Bowls Championships by winning the women’s singles title.
The Galgate bowler’s triumph came two days after her team-mates from the Blackpool Newton Hall club, Jonathan Goodall and world champion Mark Dawes, lifted the men’s pairs national crown.
It was a fantastic week for Gower, who reached the semi-finals in three other EIBA championships, including the pairs and trebles.
Gower edged home 21-20 against 16-year-old Devon Cooper in a compelling women’s singles final at Melton Mowbray.
In a classic contest between youth and experience, 45-year-old Gower used her big-match know-how to open up a 9-2 lead against her opponent from the Riverain Club in Hitchin, stretching that to 16-8 after 15 ends.
Cooper, a national pairs champion when she was only 14, closed the gap to 17-14 but soon Gower needed just one for victory at 20-15.
However, Cooper scored a double and then a treble to level the match and set up a decisive 25th end.
Gower played a perfect third shot, which Cooper had to try to take out with the final bowl of the match.
That delivery glanced off the shot bowl but Gower’s remained in to seal the victory.
Both players had previously been runners-up, Cooper also pipped 21-20 in the final last year.
In the semi-finals, Gower was always in front against Taunton Deane’s Kirsty Hembrow and won 21-16. The triumph will boost Gower’s bid to reclaim her place in the England Women’s team, having been part of the international scene for almost a decade.
Her EIBA success means she will definitely pull on the England shirt again to contest the British championship in Chelmsford next year.
A delighted Gower said: “I can’t believe it.
“Years of hard work and I have won the most coveted title in the country
“Its been a fantastic week overall.
“I reached three semi finals and managed to bag myself the top prize in the game.
“I played 13 in total. I put a huge deal down to getting my fitness levels up and working on my mental frame with my coach, David Gourlay.
“I honestly am pinching myself to believe it.”