Merrien joins forces with Anderson to great effect to claim world mixed pairs title

ALISON MERRIEN has added another world title to her impressive CV.

Stewart Anderson and Alison Merrien with the trophy after winning the mixed pairs final at the World Bowls Indoor Championships in Bristol on Thursday night. (30769606)
Stewart Anderson and Alison Merrien with the trophy after winning the mixed pairs final at the World Bowls Indoor Championships in Bristol on Thursday night. (30769606)

She was also part of history at the inaugural World Bowls Indoor Championships in Bristol today, when, for the first time, a husband faced his wife in the final of the mixed pairs event. However, it was not a case of her versus her husband Ian.

Scotland’s Stewart Anderson had been invited to these championships as the International Indoor Bowls Council’s reigning men’s singles champion and was duly partnered by the holder of the IIBC women’s singles title Merrien. They progressed to meet Anderson's wife Claire and their fellow Scot Mike Stepney, from Elgin, so the final, which was always going to be fascinating, had an extra dimension.

All four finalists looked tired – and they were entitled to, having spent 10 hours on the green during the day – but the quality of bowls was astonishing, the leads consistently setting up good heads, and the skips often converting with inch-perfect deliveries.

And it was the favourites, Alison and Stewart, who came out on top, predictably on a tiebreak, winning the title with a 7-8, 8-6, 1-0 scoreline.

In the semi-finals, Merrien and Anderson scorched to a 10-1, 14-3 victory over Ireland’s Lara Reaney and Gary Kelly, while Anderson and Stepney needed a tiebreak before they overcame South African duo Colleen Piketh and Jason Evans.

In the women’s singles, having beaten Nurul Alyani Jamal in the last 16, Merrien's run came to an end in the quarter-final where she lost a remarkable match to Hong Kong’s Gloria Ha 0-10, 8-7, 1-0 despite winning 11 of the 17 ends played.

Ian Merrien also exited the men's singles at the last-eight stage as he lost 9-9, 7-5 to South Africa's Jason Evans having earlier beaten Arthur Lam of Hong Kong 6-6, 10-2 in the last 16.

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