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Debbie Stavrou and David Gourlay win mixed pairs final in Fred Olsen Cruise Lines world indoor bowls championships at Potters

PUBLISHED: 22:50 24 January 2012 | UPDATED: 09:57 25 January 2012

Debbie Stavrou and David Gourlay <WINNERS> (red) v  Paul Foster and Kerry Packwood (green)


Indoor Bowls Mixed Pairs Final


The Fred Olsen Cruise Lines World Professional Indoor Bowls Pairs Championships at Potters Leisure Resort.


Picture: James Bass

Debbie Stavrou and David Gourlay (red) v Paul Foster and Kerry Packwood (green) Indoor Bowls Mixed Pairs Final The Fred Olsen Cruise Lines World Professional Indoor Bowls Pairs Championships at Potters Leisure Resort. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

Debbie Stavrou and David Gourlay combined brilliantly to win the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines world indoor mixed pairs title at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton-on-Sea.

Debbie Stavrou and David Gourlay combined brilliantly to win the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines world indoor mixed pairs title at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton-on-Sea.

Stavrou, an England international skip and twice former winner of the World Matchplay singles, and Scottish legend Gourlay defeated Kerry Packwood, from Wales, and Scotland’s world number one Paul Foster 9-3 6-9 2-1 in a high quality final.

Gourlay had previously lifted the trophy with Ceri Ann Davies in 2009 and 2010, but Stavrou, who plays for the successful Desborough club in Maidenhead, was playing in her first mixed pairs final.

Packwood and Foster took a 3-0 lead in the opening set but were not allowed to score again, as Stavrou and Gourlay piled up nine shots over the next six ends, but the pendulum swung in the second set.

With only two ends to play, Packwood and Foster were 7-3 ahead, and a tiebreak appeared inevitable – but a treble for Stavrou and Gourlay on the penultimate end brought them right back into contention.

The Anglo-Scottish duo now needed one shot to tie the set and win the title, and, when Stavrou opened the last end with two brilliant deliveries, it seemed as if it might be all over in straight sets.

A wonder bowl from Foster changed all that, his on-target fore-hand drive ditching the jack for two shots, and a 9-6 set win.

“That was an amazing bowl,” said Packwood afterwards, but another masterpiece, this time from Gourlay on the first end of the tiebreak, put the ‘red’ pair in the driving seat.

Back came Packwood and Foster to level matters, so everything depended on the third end of the tiebreak, which was a tense, sudden death affair watched by more than 1,000 spectators as well as TV viewers.

“Debbie was such a joy to be on the rink with,” said Gourlay. “She’s so relaxed and laid-back, that I knew there would be no recriminations if things went wrong.”

Asked how the mixed game, so popular with spectators, rates with the players, he added: “I think it was obvious that Paul and I were ‘up for it’ and Debbie and Kerry showed just how good women’s bowls can be.”

Earlier, Craig Rimmington, the explosives technologist from Johannesburg, who blasted Alex Marshall out of the singles last week, played what he described as his “worst game of bowls ever” as he lost 11-1 11-3 to Andy Thomson.

Rimmington revealed that his trip to the UK has left him £1,500 out of pocket, adding: “Beating Alex was a highlight, and I will cherish that, but the prize for a second round loser is only £500, and there’s no way that begins to cover my costs.”

Last night, in a clash between two City of Ely clubmates, the unseeded Nick Brett edged through on a tiebreak, 10-6 7-9 2-1, against world number two Greg Harlow – the fifth world indoor singles champion to bite the dust already this year.

Next month they will be playing together in the final stages of the national mixed fours with Harlow’s wife Kay and Brett’s daughter Chloe, who is only 11.

WEDNESDAY’S POTTERS ACTION

Ladies Singles, semi-finals

10am: Alison Merrien (Gue) v Debbie Stavrou (Eng). 3.30pm: Rebecca Field (Eng) v Karen Murphy (Aust)

Open singles, 2nd round

1.30pm: Ross Owen (Wales) v John Price (Wales). 7.30pm: Robert Weale (Wales) v Simon Skelton (Eng)

THURSDAY’S SCHEDULE

Open singles, 2nd round

10am: Wayne Hogg (Scot) v Stewart Anderson (Scot). 2.45pm: Mark Royal (Eng) v Jason Greenslade (Wales). 7.30pm: Darren Burnett (Scot) v Robert Paxton (Eng)

Ladies Singles final. 1pm: Merrien or Stavrou v Field or Murphy.

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