SCOTLAND’S Stewart Anderson is the new Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines World indoor singles champion. The 27-year-old ninth seed was close to tears as he celebrated an epic 10-10, 10-9 victory at Potters Leisure Resort over fellow Scot Paul Foster, the number three seed bidding for a record-equalling fifth world crown.
Anderson, runner-up three years ago, was the ice-cool assassin as he operated like a drawing ice cool machine to apply relentless pressure on his more experienced rival, so much so that Foster was offered few opportunities to construct counts, and those he managed to keep within striking distance of the title were manufactured by his own brilliance.
On the other hand, Anderson rarely had to resort to running bowls, such was his prowess around the jack, where the margins for error were measured in fractions of an inch in a final that for sheer quality and drama has had few equals. It certainly lived up to expectations, and while Foster was clearly disappointed to have suffered a first defeat in nine World Bowls Tour finals, he was gracious in defeat.
Foster, who was bidding for a unique championship hat-trick after winning both pairs titles, still remains the ‘King of the Portable Rink,’ but the talented Anderson showed that he is potentially the ‘Young Pretender’ to the throne. Anderson looked to be in a position of some strength in the first set when he led 10-6 with just two of the 11 ends remaining, but Foster showed why he’s the provisional world number one by trailing the jack for three when facing a set lie, and then claimed a single on the last end to tie the set.
An uncharacteristic loose end from Foster at the start of the second set enabled Anderson to claim a treble and he increased that advantage to 6-1 after four ends. With his title hopes fading, Foster produced another stunning delivery, taking away Anderson’s closest two bowls to pick up a maximum four and close the deficit to just one shot at 6-5. Nothing seemed to ruffle Anderson’s feathers, and he duly added three more shots over the next two ends to reclaim his four-shot advantage at 9-5. Foster picked up a single and then held four shots on the ninth end for a 10-9 lead, but Anderson, under pressure for one of the few times in the match, reduced the count to two with a running bowl that forced the jack out of the rink.
Another single from Foster on the penultimate end levelled the match once more at 9-9, but Anderson kept his nerves in check on the final end to draw within inches of the jack and that proved good enough to win him the coveted world crown and a record £45,000.