Famous victory for bowlers

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There was plenty of Jersey support for the players in the spectators’ gallery to salute what is certainly one of the finest achievements for bowls in Jersey.

Bisson’s 21-16 win against English champion Julie Saunders produced several anxious moments, after leading 21-12, as Saunders began to close the gap.

The Jersey pair’s triumph was the more dramatic because they trailed throughout, then levelled at 17-17 after the allotted 18 ends then took the lead for the first time on the extra end.

Thomas and Dingle thus emulated Gean O’Neil and Bisson who won the pairs at Les Creux two years ago, while Bisson improved on the result of 1999, when she lost to Ireland’s Margaret Johnston in the singles final.

Thomas and Dingle actually led briefly at the very start of the pairs final, but dropped three trebles and a four in a disastrous six-end spell, and looked destined for the runners up spot when they trailed 15-4 after nine.

‘But we never give up,’ said Dingle afterwards.

‘Admittedly at the time things didn’t look good, but the match was only half over.

And when Gaynor turned to me and said, “”the second half will be ours!”” I knew we were in with a chance.’ Dingle, who was the inaugural president of Bowls Jersey, added: ‘That makes up for our disappointment at not winning a medal in the Commonwealth Games pairs in Melbourne.

We resolved when we came here that we were going to win this one!’ And what is the secret of the pair’s success? ‘We’ve played together for a long time now, and enjoy each other’s company,’ said Dingle.

‘We have developed a confidence in each other, and a sense of self-belief.’ Thomas, who was born in Wales, observed: ‘Wales were the only team to beat us in the group stage in Melbourne, and it was nice to gain revenge.

When the crowd shout “”Come on Wales,”” I love it, and respond by trying my hardest.’ Saunders, a sports coach, took a 3-0 lead after two ends, but stuck on three for the next five ends, as Bisson piled up nine shots in succession, and the Jersey star was sitting pretty at 12-5 ahead after 12 ends.

The English champion closed to 13-10, and, after a run of singles, was only three shots adrift, 15-12, after 20 ends, when Bisson struck again, collecting a treble and a double to lead, 20-12, after 22.

Just like a cricketer in the nervous nineties, Bisson had to show patience over the next three ends, as Saunders edged closer, and it was with some relief that she chopped her own short bowl on to the jack to take the winning shot on the 26th end of a fascinating encounter.

Quite remarkably, Channel Islanders hold the British singles titles indoor and out.

Bisson is the new champion on grass, and Guernsey’s Alison Merrien holds the equivalent title on carpet.’

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