Dorchester ’S Martin Pavey booked himself both a place in this year’s Dorset County Singles final and qualified with fellow finalist Mark Tomberry as the Dorset representatives at the National Finals at Worthing.
Pavey, 32, earned a double victory at the county singles quarter and semi-finals play-off, at Wimborne Bowls Club.
Having reached the quarter-final stage of the competition he was drawn against the Alexandra Park young star Daniel Tomberry, who had a reason to want to progress further, as his father Mark had also reached the same stage – with a prospect of a possible father-versus-son county final, and a family double qualification for the national finals.
The younger Tomberry’s dreams of this unique occurrence were dashed though, as Pavey eased him out of the competition with a 21-15 victory.
Tomberry senior did progress to the semi-final when defeating Barry Short-land (Bridport) 21-9, and was paired to meet Dorchester’s Wayne Garnett.
Garnett had beaten Blandford’s Barry Mayalls in his quarter-final 21-18 to then set up the prospect of an all-Dorchester final and double qualification for the nationals at Worthing in August.
The fourth quarter-final winner was the experienced Derek Gray of Greenhill , having returned to action after a spell away from the game two seasons ago to prove that he was still a major force to be reckoned with.
Gray moved into the semi-final when eliminating John Hobby from Poole Park – again with a 21-18 scoreline, to take his place in game against Pavey. Pavey got off to a promising 3-0 start – winning the two opening ends with a single and a brace, before Gray got into his stride to eventually take the lead 4-3.
The match fluctuated with the lead changing hands several times and both players delivering telling bowls. With Gray marginally ahead at 13-11 Pavey lost the next three ends, leaving Gray in a commanding position at 18-11.
He needed just three more shots to gain one of the two qualifying places for Worthing, and also a chance to become the County Singles champion later in the year.
Pavey was staring defeat in the face but continued with his game plan and stopped the rot with a valuable single.
This seemed to give the Dorchester player hope, and he consolidated his recovery by taking two shots on each of the next two critical ends.
Pavey was now back in touch and trailed 18-16. It was game on for Pavey, as Gray was beginning to realise that any earlier thoughts of victory were premature.
Another single to Pavey was followed with a killer end where Gray had to concede three shots and the overall lead.
The Greenhill player had one final opportunity to save the day, but Pavey was not to be denied and secured the one shot required for an impressive win.
Pavey had converted a desperate 18-11 position to win a remarkable total of 10 shots on the burst, to snatch victory 21-18.
With one player into the final, hopes were high for a Dorchester double when Garnett held sway over Tomberry from the Alexandra Park Club.
Garnett was bowling consistently had led for most of the game and seemed on course to win, as Tomberry was guilty of delivering an unusual number of short bowls.
For his part Garnett was put to the test when needing to play running bowls, which failed to produce the desired effect.
It was a relieved Tomberry who hung on to scrape a 21-17 victory, which put him in the county final and secured his place in the nationals and a trip to Sussex alongside Pavey.
For Pavey, it means he has a chance to take the major county title which he won in 2005, but the cagey Tomberry will have plenty of incentives to put the brakes on the talented Pavey, and regain family pride.
Pavey is no stranger to the nationals and the coveted Worthing greens. The last occasion he reached the nationals was three years ago, when he and his club partner Jamie Lockwood became National Pairs champions.
Pavey now looks forward to honing his skills in preparation for a tilt at becoming a national champion in two disciplines.