English champion Janice jubilant over great week for Blackpool bowls

Janice Gower receives the women's singles trophy from EIBA president Margaret Allen
Janice Gower receives the women's singles trophy from EIBA president Margaret Allen

Newly crowned English indoor bowls champion Janice Gower admits “I’m still pinching myself” as an amazing week for herself and the Blackpool Newton Hall club sinks in.

READ MORE: Gower's English championship glory
Gower’s glory in the women’s singles at the English Indoor Bowling Association Championships crowned a great week in Melton Mowbray for the Staining-based club.

Blackpool Newton Hall clubmates Jonathan Goodall and world champion Mark Dawes won the men’s pairs title.

It was beginning to look a case of so near and yet so far in these championships for 45-year-old Gower as she reached the semi-finals in three competitions without making a final. That all changed in the showpiece singles competition, in which she overcame Taunton’s Kirsty Hembrow 21-16 to qualify for a nailbiting final in which Gower edged past 16-year-old Devon Cooper of Hitchen 21-20.

Having just missed out on the final of the two-bowl singles and triples, Gower’s bid for the pairs title ended in bizarre circumstances.

Her pairs partner Sue Kearsley suffered a shoulder injury lifting a suitcase into her car, forcing the Blackpool duo to pull out of their semi-final.

Gower recalled: “Having won it back in 2015, my best friend Sue and I were on top of our game and ready to go.

“We then had to concede the semi-final, and then spending an afternoon in hospital with Sue would not be considered the best preparation for the ultimate challenge in English indoor bowls – going for the singles title.

“Eight days in and I had already been on the rink for almost 30 hours and had three national semi-finals already in the bag.

“But I believe in fate as well as hard work. I played 13 matches and have worked with a personal trainer Lee Jones to drop weight and get fitter for such marathons. I have also been working with top bowls coach David Gourlay on big-game preparation.

“I also have such a supportive partner (Richard Maddieson) and proud parents (Maureen and Ted France).

“They always say it’s the little improvements that make the difference and I have worked hard to make them. Fate saw me lift the most coveted title in the game in England. And I’m still pinching myself.”