Northampton bowler Jamie Walker is on top of the world!
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Walker is celebrating after he was was crowned the World Indoor Bowls champion after a thrilling win over Scotland’s Jason Banks in the final of the Open Singles at Potters on Sunday.
The 31-year-old Northampton-born bowler, who is now based in Torquay in Devon, was making only his second appearance in the competition, and he enjoyed a dream week on the Norfolk coast, edging past Banks in the final 8-7, 7-7.
Both Walker and Banks were qualifiers and were big outsiders at the start of the tournament, but they both made their way to the final, seeing off some big names along the way.
“I am delighted,” said Walker after his win. “It sounds pretty good to be the new champion. I had been pretty nervous all morning, but felt fine when I was in the game.
“I started off okay. I felt like I was hanging on a bit and the run of the bowls went my little way at key points, which obviously helps.
“The crowd has been great all week. And it makes easier to see a few familiar faces in the crowd. Hopefully Jason and I will be back next year.”
Walker qualified for the Open Singles by winning the Professional Bowls Association qualifying event in Newport in October.
In the final, Walker opened up a 5-0 lead in the first set, only for Banks to battle back to 7-7, but the Northampton man won the final end to go 1-0 ahead in sets.
The second set saw Walker ease 3-0 ahead, but Banks fought back again to lead 7-4 with just two ends to play.
Walker reduced the deficit to one with the final end to come, and he claimed the one shot he needed to level the set at 7-7 and win he match.
Former Northampton West End BC player Walker, who now plays for the Torquay United Indoor and Kings (Torquay) clubs, picked up a cheque for £50,000 for his efforts as well as the Langham Glass Bowl Trophy.
The win has also seen him climb into the top 16 of the world’s provisional ranking list for the first-time.