Suffolk’s Katherine Rednall wins World Mixed Pairs title
- Credit: James Bass
Darren Burnett, a 39-year-old community policeman from Arbroath, is on a roll at Potters Resort in Hopton-on-Sea this week and clearly has his sights set on becoming the first man to achieve what would be a remarkable world treble.
On Tuesday, with 20-year-old Ipswich ace Katherine Rednall giving him good support, Burnett added the world mixed pairs title to the open pairs title he won on Monday with his fellow Scot Stewart Anderson.
Tomorrow afternoon, he is scheduled to play Potters’ own Bowls Ambasssador Greg Harlow for a place in the quarter-finals of the singles, so he is still in with a chance of winning all three world titles in the same season – a clean sweep that has never previously been achieved.
Experts were reluctant to predict the result of yesterday’s final, expecting the leading battle between Rednall and top Scot Julie Forrest to be well contested, and relishing the prospect of the clash at skip between Burnett, the Commonwealth Games singles champion, and Alex Marshall, who won the pairs in the Glasgow Games in 2014.
While the leads were indeed well matched, Marshall at skip could not scale the heights he is accustomed to reaching, and it was Burnett’s brilliance, whether he was drawing or driving, that made all the difference, as Rednall and Burnett won in straight sets, 11-5, 14-9.
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Starting confidently, Rednall and Burnett were 5-0 up after three ends, and they kept up the pressure to win the first set 11-5. But, when Forrest and Marshall opened with a full house of four shots on the first end of the second set, most spectators thought a tiebreak was likely.
Looking to increase their advantage, Forrest and Marshall confidently built up a strong position on the second end, and were holding two shots when a torpedo from Burnett sank their hopes, so that, instead of 6-0, the scorecard read 4-2.
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Undaunted, Forrest and Marshall forged ahead with a three on the fifth end to lead 8-4 and that eagerly anticipated tiebreak looked inevitable.
Rednall, for some reason she could not explain, lost her length at the start of the second set, but showed her class as she dug deep, and came back into the game, while Burnett executed some outstanding deliveries at skip.
“Katherine was a delight to play with,” said Burnett afterwards. “Julie played well, but Katherine came back on song at the right time.”
A devastating four-ends spell of 3-1-3-1 changed the whole complexion of the game, turning a 4-8 deficit into an 11-8 lead for Rednall and Burnett, who held on to win in straight sets.
Paying tribute, not only to Burnett’s skill, but to his personal qualities, Rednall said: “I always felt relaxed out there, because Darren was so encouraging. I think that’s why I was able to get over my poor spell, and switch back on to a good game.”
As for sharing the rink with three Scots, she added: “Sometimes I needed an interpreter to know what was going on, but it was a great game to play in, and a fantastic feeling to have won the world title.”
But, when asked how she was going to celebrate, the Essex University student shrugged and said: “It’s back to Uni in the morning!”