PISTOL shooter turned bowler Lou Flett was on target to score a breakthrough win in the Gunnedah Services and Bowling Club singles championship at the weekend.
Flett took up bowls 25 years ago and although he has since become one of the best draw bowlers in the north, the club championship had always eluded him.
That changed on Sunday, however, as he turned back a late challenge from defending champion Andrew Cameron to win the final 31-28 in one of the best matches at the club for years.
The rising 74-year-old Flett led all the way against the 21-year-old Cameron in a high-quality match on a superbly-running green.
Flett opened up a 7-nil lead on four ends and was in command at 15-8, 19-11 and 22-12.
Cameron threatened briefly but the score was still 25-16 after 24 ends, with Flett drawing close to the jack on each end.
Cameron, however, fought back doggedly, cutting the margin to four (25-21). Flett then claimed five shots on three ends to creep to within one of victory at 30-21.
That was when Cameron hit back with some deadly accurate bowls to cut the margin to two (30-28).
On the 35th end, Cameron drew two close bowls but Flett, under pressure, produced the shot of the match, a counter which tipped out Cameron’s two shots for the match.
Flett said he “felt comfortable” through the match until his opponent’s late rally.
“I had a fairly good buffer late in the game but he was very tenacious and it was a relief to snag that bowl on the last,” he said.
“It’s a great honour to win the singles championship – I’ve been trying for years and I’ve gone close a few times without being able to get over the line.”
Cameron regretted his slow start in the final, saying that he “couldn’t pick up the green”.
“Lou jumped away from me and he’s so steady he’s very hard to run down. He played very well.”
Flett started playing bowls in the late 1980s, coming off a successful career as a pistol shooter, during which he won close to 20 championship events. He was invited to represent NSW one year in the Australian pistol-shooting championships in Brisbane but wasn’t able to go.
Earlier this year, Flett won the North West and Northern NSW (Zone 3) fours championships, in company with clubmates Bill Clay, Jeff Palmer and Brian Sheppard.
He will now represent the club in the North West Champion of Champions play-offs.