Ellen Falkner ranks her third Just Retirement World Indoor Bowls Ladies Matchplay title as the most special victory of her career so far.
The City of Ely Bowls star defeated 2013 winner Rebecca Field 10-9, 8-7 in a hard-fought final at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton-on-Sea on Thursday.
And after ending a 10-year wait to lift the biggest prize in the women’s game for a third time, the 2005 and 2006 champion has placed it at the top of her achievements in the sport.
“I’ll probably put it at the top out of the three,” the 36-year-old said. “When you go through your career you appreciate the highs much more.
“Although I haven’t managed to repeat those earlier successes at Potters in recent years, I’ve still managed to compete at a high level in Delhi and Glasgow in the Commonwealth Games.
“I did win the Mixed Pairs with Greg (Harlow) at Potters in 2011, but apart from that I haven’t won a lot there after winning my first two singles.”
Falkner came through two nail-biting tie-breaks to reach the Ladies Matchplay final for the first time since 2007.
The Ely bowler fought back from a set down to beat Scotland’s Julie Forrest in the quarter-finals, before edging past defending champion Laura Thomas in the last four.
The final against Field did not require a tie-break, but the two sets were closely-fought, with Falkner winning them both by just the odd shot.
“I was really delighted to win it for a third time,” Falkner said. “I’ve competed at Potters for years and to lift the trophy again is amazing.
“I always keep trying and sometimes it goes for you and sometimes it doesn’t. I was lucky to get the rewards this time and I’m over the moon.
“All the games were extremely close, even the final although it didn’t go to a tie-break like my other two games, both sets were very tight.
“I’m delighted to have played well and got through them all, and to come away with the trophy was very special.”
Falkner had to come through a tie-break when she first lifted the Ladies Matchplay title in 2005, and it looked like the 2016 final was heading for a decider when Field opened up a 7-5 lead heading into the penultimate end of the second set.
However Falkner responded in end 10 with two shots to level the set at 7-7, and after going one shot ahead with her final bowl, the Ely bowler watched on as Field bowled wide of the jack to hand her the title.