In a typically nerveless performance in Hartlepool yesterday lunchtime she defeated the Welsh star Kerry Packwood 8-7, 10-2 to win the World Indoor Bowls Council women’s singles for the third time and the first time in three years.
Even though Ali was left disappointed by a defeat in the final of the mixed pairs alongside husband Ian, the greatest bowler the island has known was ecstatic with her singles win, which came after she had been staring down the barrel of a first-set loss to a player she had previously beaten in the group stages.
Merrien was trailing 7-4 with two ends left, but she gave herself a chance by winning the penultimate end and then grabbed a three on the last.
‘I thought I’d try and stick a couple close and Kerry missed two drives to take one or two out and went between both of them.
‘I then gave myself a talking to and thought let’s finish this it off.’
The Guernsey star took the mat up the rink and Packwood struggled for length on the shorter rink.
Merrien sailed through the second and with the triumph ended self-doubts as to whether she could return to the top after a season out nursing elbow surgery and a year when she was severely troubled by it.
‘I’m really chuffed because I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get the 10th.
‘I’ve proved to myself that I can still play at that level and it’s taken a while to get the confidence back.’
The triumph guarantees her a place in both the singles and mixed pairs at next January’s World Bowls Tour championships at Potter’s Resort.