Under glorious blue skies, the Finals of the 84th Eastbourne Mens Open Bowls Tournament sponsored by Langham Hotel took place at Gildredge Park BC attended by in excess of 100 spectators enjoying both the high standard of bowling and the sunshine.
No fewer than three of the the four semi-finalists in the ‘blue riband’ Singles event were former champions.
Eastbourne Bowls Club duo Francois Celada, winner in 2006, took on Martin Biggleston, 2008 champion in a very hard-fought encounter.
Francois took an early lead and seemed in control at 10 ends when he was 12 shots to four in front.
A mini revival took place and Martin narrowed the deficit to 16 -11, but Francois seemed to have stopped the slide when he scored two shots on the 17th end to take him within three shots of the victory.
Again Martin rallied, winning five of the next six ends to tie the scores at 19 - 19. Then , he scored the two shots required to win the match 21-19 and complete a remarkable fight back.
In the second semi-final, Phil Saunders (Spartan BC) took on Dave Richardson (Popes Mead BC), previous winner in 2005 and 2010.
Dave proved too strong on the day, running out the winner by 21 shots to eight.
In the final, Dave bowled superbly, emerging victorious over Martin by 21 shots to nine and becoming only the third player in the history of the event to have won the title on three separate occasions.
In the pairs competition, the reigning champions, brothers Ted and Alan Vidler (Gildredge Park / Tarring Priory), met the Royal Sovereign duo of Ian Bratthammer and John Kinnard in the semi-final.
Ted and Aland powered to a convincing win, triumphing by 24 shots to 11.
In the second semi-final, Phil Wade and Carl Dyer (Spartan) played Andy Butler and Adrian Wainwright (Uckfield).
After the ninth end, when the score was six shots each, Phil and Carl pulled away to lead 17 - 11 at 18 ends.
However, in a sudden reversal of fortunes, they then lost seven shots in the next two ends to be 17 - 18 down going into the last.
Phil and Carl secured theirplace in the final with a two shot pick up to win an exciting game 19-18.
In the Final, the pair from Spartan overcame Ted and Alan, the title changing hands with a score of 16 shots to six.
Phil played his second final of the day in the triples where, accompanying Willie Woods and Mike Cropper (Sidley Martlets), they met the Ken Hill’s (Eastbourne) team of Bob Jones (Eastbourne) and John Blackman (unattached).
In a game in which both sides scored seven shots in an end, the locals looked defeated with four ends to go with the score 12 - 20.
However, they refused to roll over and won all of the remaining ends to take the title, edging the score by two points 22-20.
The mixed triples final was contested between teams comprising of Barbara Manning, Lloyd Oliver and Francois Celada (Eastbourne BC) and Yvonne Newbold, Alan Clark and Colin Newbold (Seaford BC).
The Eastbourne trio won convincingly by a 18-8 score line, with Francois becoming the first player to become a champion in all of the four competitions that comprise the tournament - singles, doubles, triples and mixed triples.