Suffolk star Rednall claims derby honours after cruising past Norfolk's Field
PUBLISHED: 17:13 25 January 2018 | UPDATED: 21:28 25 January 2018
On one hand it was a disappointingly one-sided final, but, on the other, yesterday's Just World Women's Matchplay Singles final produced an exhibition of bowls that will live in the memory for a very long time.
In what should have been a fascinating all-East Anglian contest, Ipswich ace Katherine Rednall, who turned 22 earlier this month, defeated her 28-year-old friend and rival Bex Field, from Norwich, 13-3, 13-6.
When four perfect bowls from Rednall on the first end were countered brilliantly by a Field drive that took the jack into the ditch for a single shot, the Potters crowd thought they might have a game on their hands - and the Norfolk player drew well on the second end, bringing the best out of her opponent, who claimed a double.
So far, it was a pulsating contest, but, from 2-1 after two ends, the score became 13-1 to Rednall after seven ends. The Essex University student, who is studying fashion design at the Colchester campus, played with such accuracy and flair that spectators – and Field, for that matter – were stunned.
Winning the first set, 13-3, Rednall confidently and inexorably built up an 8-0 lead after four ends of the second set, whereupon Field gave hope to her supporters by scoring a full house of four shots on the fifth end. It was too little, too late, and the match ended without having to play the 11th end of the set, because, at 13-6, Rednall just could not be caught.
A crestfallen Field said: “I don’t think anyone could have beaten Katherine the way she played today, so, although I’m disappointed, I know I lost to the better player. I will be astonished if she comes back from the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April without a medal.”
After paying tribute to the support she receives from her parents, John and Christine, Rednall confirmed that, although her first success in 2013 – when she beat Field in the final – was special, this meant the world.
Rednall, who has reached the final of this competition four times and won it three times over the past five years, added: “I love it here at Potters. It’s like playing at home, but I don’t think I’ve ever played as well as that on the portable rink.”
The line-up for Friday’s quarter finals of the World Indoor Open Singles was completed when Wayne Willgress became the last man to qualify for the last eight with a 9-9, 13-6 victory over Scotland’s Stewart Anderson.
There were sensational scenes as Willgress, a 29-year-old painter and decorator, who was the sponsor’s choice as a wildcard entry for this event, was mobbed by his mates after pulling off the most sensational win of his bowls career.
The International Arena at Potters suddenly came alive at around 7.45pm, when a bus-load of supporters from the Norwich-based Norfolk Bowls Club roared their approval of their popular club-mate, who trailed the jack for a full house of four shots.
They had been silent as the 2013 champion Anderson opened with a count of three, and added a single to lead 4-0, but, at a stroke, Willgress was back on level terms. As if inspired by their shouts the tall, green-shirted Willgress soon advanced to 7-4, and a shock was on the cards.
Back came Anderson with a double and a single to level things up at 7-7, and the Scot was holding two shots on the eighth end when Willgress pulled off another cheer-inducing shot to claim a double to go 9-7 in front – only for Anderson to reply in kind to tie the set at 9-9.
Down 2-6 after five ends in the second set, Willgress delighted his incredulous fans by scoring two full house counts of four to lead 10-6 after seven ends, and he ditched the jack on the penultimate end, scoring an unlikely treble to win a famous victory.
Earlier, the 2016 runner-up and number six seed Rob Paxton had got the better of Les Gillett, 8-8, 9-4, and the Resort’s own Bowls Ambassador Greg Harlow had quelled a spirited challenge from the unseeded qualifier Scott Edwards, winning in straight sets, 9-6, 9-3.
On Friday, England team-mates Mark Dawes and Mark Royal clash for a place in the semi-finals, Scotland’s Commonwealth Games champion Darren Burnett meets Welsh hope Jason Greenslade, Paxton takes on local favourite Mervyn King, and, of course, Harlow faces Willgress.