Scottish International Open: Greg Harlow beats Paul Foster to retain title

Greg Harlow receives his trophy
Greg Harlow recovered from a first-round injury scare

Greg Harlow retained the Scottish International Open Bowls Championship with a thrilling victory over Paul Foster after a tie-break in Perth.

With both players looking to win the title for the third time, the Englishman beat the Scot 4-10 12-4 2-1.

Harlow was delighted to be only the second player to retain the title.

"It's never meant to be easy to win these titles and that's as tough as I've ever had it to win one," he told BBC Scotland.

Harlow, the top seed and world number four, feared his title had gone in the first round, when he scraped through 11-0 6-8 2-1 against unseeded Welshman Damian Doubler.

"I thought I had done a serious injury in my first game," said the 2010 world indoor champion, who believed that contributed to his lack of nerves in the final. "I thought I pulled my hamstring.

"So, to be honest, I am just happy to be playing the tournament and happy to be in the final.

"If I had lost today, I would have been equally as happy to be here.

"So it was probably the least pressure I have felt in any of my finals."

Four-time world champion Foster, ranked fifth in the world, began impressively, racing into a 6-1 lead before wrapping up the first set convincingly.

However, the Scot's form deserted him in the second and he did not win a point beyond the fourth of the 11 ends after establishing a 4-2 lead.

Paul Foster throws a bowl
Paul Foster was angry at himself for his positional play in the tie-break

Foster composed himself to take the first end of the tie-break, but Harlow levelled and had to kill the third end before the Scot failed to do likewise after the re-spot as he failed to make contact with the final bowl of the match.

"I can hardly believe it myself," said Harlow. "Paul dominated the first set. I improved my game slightly in the second and Paul had a couple of bad results.

"In the tie-break ends, I was in all sorts of trouble and somehow played a few miracle bowls.

"I thought Paul had me under pressure so many times and I had to come up with key bowls to keep me in it."

Foster rued his positional play as he looked to win the second end of the tie break.

"Congratulations to Paul," he said. "To come back and defend it is very hard to do. He played some unbelievable bowls and probably deserved to win it.

"Take nothing away from Greg today, I personally don't think I got going at all.

"Hindsight is a great thing - I'm just angry at myself at the second tie-break end.

"I've been in this game for 30 years now and I cannot believe I didn't go deep."

Results

Final

(1) Greg Harlow (Eng) bt (6) Paul Foster (Sco) 4-10 12-4 2-1

Semi-finals

(1) Greg Harlow (Eng) bt (4) Robert Paxton (Eng) 10-3 9-6

(6) Paul Foster (Sco) bt (3) Alex Marshall (Sco) 10-8 10-2

Quarter-finals

(4) Robert Paxton (Eng) bt (10) Mervyn King (Eng) 11-4 10-5

(1) Greg Harlow (Eng) bt Wayne Willgress (Eng) 9-8, 9-3

(6) Paul Foster (Sco) bt (2) Nick Brett (Eng) 10-3 3-8 2-0

(3) Alex Marshall (Sco) bt (8) Andy Thomson 8-3 12-3

Second round

(10) Mervyn King (Eng) bt (5) David Gourlay (Sco) 9-8 8-4

Wayne Willgress (Eng) bt (7) Darren Burnett (Sco) 4-11 9-4 2-0

(1) Greg Harlow (Eng) bt Trevor Taylor (Eng) 8-3 9-5

(4) Robert Paxton (Eng) bt Connor Cinato (Eng) 11-5 6-6

(8) Andy Thomson (Eng) bt (9) Stewart Anderson (Sco) 7-4 5-8 2-1

(3) Alex Marshall (Sco) bt (14) Jamie Chestney (Eng) 10-6 7-6

(6) Paul Foster (Sco) bt (16) Mark Dawes (Eng) 10-4 2-11 2-1

(2) Nicky Brett (Eng) bt (15) Les Gillett (Eng) 8-10 5-4 2-0

First round

Wayne Willgress (Eng) bt (13) Jonathan Ross (13) 6-4 8-5

(7) Darren Burnett (Sco) bt Steve Halmai (USA) 7-4 4-8 2-0

(5) David Gourlay (Sco) bt Ruti Gilor (Isr) 8-6 9-7

(10) Mervyn King (Eng) bt Lisa Featherby (Aus) 15-5 7-5

Connor Cinato (Eng) bt (12) Jason Greenslade (Wal) 7-6 6-5

(4) Robert Paxton (Eng) bt Anthony Webb (Eng) 3-8 6-5 2-0

(3) Alex Marshall (Sco) bt Mark Sandford (Can) 14-1 11-3

(14) Jamie Chestney (Eng) bt David Corkill (Irl) 5-5 9-6

(9) Stewart Anderson (Sco) bt Sheldon Bagrie-Howley (NZ) 9-2 10-7

(8) Andy Thomson (Eng) bt James Smith (Aus) 8-7 6-7 2-0

(16) Mark Dawes (Eng) bt Billy Jackson (Eng) 5-10 11-4 2-1

(15) Les Gillett (Eng) bt Anthony Yip (Hkg) 11-2 9-5

(2) Nicky Brett (Eng) bt Mark McPeak (Irl) 2-10 11-4 2-1

(1) Greg Harlow (Eng) bt Damian Doubler (Wal) 11-0 6-8 2-1

(6) Paul Foster (Sco) bt Chris Gale (Eng) 14-1 7-3

Trevor Taylor (Eng) bt (11) Mark Royal (Eng) 9-6 10-4

Top Stories