England’s Greg Harlow created history at the Co-op Funeral Care Scottish International Open in Perth yesterday by winning the title for a record third time.
The defending champion dashed Scotland’s hopes of keeping the title on home soil for the first time since 2012 by defeating Paul Foster 4-10, 12-4, 2-1 after a dramatic tie-break in which he twice saved the match.
For Foster, the last Scot to lift the title, there was the bitter disappointment of losing in the final for the third time in four years, but he couldn’t have come any closer to regaining the crown.
After dominating the opening set, Foster looked set for a second treble in three ends for a 7-4 lead in the second set, but Harlow produced an inch-perfect last bowl draw to claim the shot and that turned the tide in his favour, as he won the next four ends, including a maximum four-count, to force a tie-break.
Foster took the opening end of the tie-break and twice held match lie in the second only for Harlow to produce two accurate running bowls to force a decisive third end in which he rubbed salt into the wounds by drawing his way to the title.
“I still can’t believe I have won the title,” said Harlow. “Paul dominated the first set, I improved in the second when Paul had one or two things not go his way, and he had me in all sorts of trouble in the tie-break when I somehow pulled out a couple of miracle shots to save the match. It’s never over until the last bowl.”
Foster was angry with himself for an error he made on the second tie-break end. “I know it’s easy in hindsight, but I should have gone deeper with my last bowl which would have restricted Greg’s chances of saving the match,” he admitted.