Bowlers from Worthing Pavilion have reached the round of 16 in a national competition after winning their area final by the narrowest of margins.
The over-60s double rink is a knockout tournament entered by hundreds of clubs across England, including 22 in Sussex. Two rinks of four from each club play home and away simultaneously over 18 ends, with the match decided on shots aggregate.
Pavilion defeated Arun B by 31-28 in their first match of this season's competition. They then beat Isle of Wight A 30-29 and Adur 34-31, a win that put them into the area final against Eastbourne & District.
On the home rink, Pavilion's four of Jeremy Simpson, John Winkley, Warwick Davis and skip Bill Murphy led 2-1 after three ends but scored only two shots in the next seven ends as Eastbourne seized control. The visitors were 14-4 up heading into the final stages, before a three and a couple of singles from Pavilion narrowed the gap and made the result 16-9.
On the away rink, Ray Leggett, Colin Davey, Mick Patching and skip John Frew made a flying start despite enduring the worst of the winter weather in a four-hour drive to Eastbourne. A four on the first leg was followed by a handful of singles. The hosts responded with a three and a two but they never looked likely to overhaul Pavilion, who won 17-10.
That made the overall score 26 shots each, with 576 woods having been delivered. The match went into extra-time, a sudden-death additional end to decide the victors. It was played at Eastbourne and Frew's four won it, securing overall victory by a single shot.
The first of the final stages in the English Indoor Bowling Association tournament takes place on February 6, when Pavilion face Bromley for a place in the quarter-finals. Last year Bromley progressed to the semi-finals before losing to Gateshead, who went on to lift the national title.
Arthur White and Paul Ward have also represented Pavilion in the double rink this season. They were back in action with their teammates in Division One of the Sussex league this week for a home match against local rivals Worthing Indoor.
Each side won on three rinks but Pavilion gained five of the eight points available by an aggregate score of 120 shots to 105. They remain the only unbeaten team in the top division.
Jim Walmsley, John Winkley, Keith Wadhams and skip John Frew were top rink with a 30-9 victory.