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Final delivery brings pairs quest to an end for Scots

There was no record-equalling fourth world indoor pairs title in a row for Paul Foster and Alex Marshall in the Just Retirement championships in Norfolk with the recognised giants of the sport ousted 13-4, 7-7 by City of Ely clubmates Nicky Brett and Greg Harlow in yesterday's title decider.

In the first set, they only scored on three of the nine ends played in the best of two sets of eleven ends, losing a 4 and 2 on the last two ends.

In the second though they went 4-0 ahead after three ends, but Marshall's last bowl to a displaced jack went into the side ditch leaving the door open for Harlow and Brett to get on to the card. However, both teams matched each other bowl for bowl over the remaining seven ends with the Scots trailing 6-7 going into the last where they needed two shots to take the match to a best-of-three-end tie break.

Foster set the head up perfectly, slightly trailing the shot to hold a double. Both skips failed to alter the head count with their first deliveries and, with his last bowl, Harlow was happy to dislodge Foster's second shot, forcing Marshall to draw into the head for a second shot that would have given them a set lie.

His final delivery looked perfect but over the final run home the perfectly weighted shot failed to turn enough, just hanging off slightly and the single shot they counted wasn't good enough as they lost one and a half sets to a half.

The disappointed Scots later admitted "they were the two best players on the day without a shadow of a doubt".

Foster said "I wasn't in it in the first set and Alex had the heavy end of the wedge. We played a lot better in the second and we both thought that Alex's last bowl was coming in to give us the double we needed. We just couldn't believe it didn't drop off into the head at the end. We were both so confident that it was coming into count, but it wasn't to be".

The new champions admitted: "We're just relieved. We thought we were going to a tie break. The last bowl looked perfect and, like the Scots lads, we were convinced that it was perfect but it held off that fraction at the end. We knew we would have to play well today. These boys are top players and we knew we would have a mammoth task to take this title from them."

Foster will be back in action today lining up with Laura Thomas from Wales as they defend their mixed pairs title against Andy Thomson and Katherine Rednall.

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