DREAM BOWLS WIN FOR EXONIA'S PAXTON

Devon's Robert Paxton is the new Scottish International Open bowls champion.

Paxton - from Exonia Bowling Club - etched his name into the bowls record books at Dewars Centre in Perth when he beat world number two Greg Harlow 2-11, 10-2, 2-0 to become the first qualifier to win the established World Bowls Tour title.

"It's unbelievable – a dream come true," said Paxton, the world No18 from Exeter, after his maiden WBT title success in his first final.

Paxton reached the final without dropping a set but Harlow, the 2010 world champion from Ely, overwhelmed the Devonian in the first set, building up an astonishing 11-0 lead before Paxton replied.

But, with the jack now in Paxton's hands and longer jack lengths his preferred option, the Exonia club star took control in the second set – scoring in the first three ends before Harlow managed a single, then winning the set by an eight-shot margin.

Paxton held his nerve to win the first two ends of the tie break to celebrate his historic triumph.

He said: "I was just happy to come back the way I did in the second after losing so heavily in the first. And while Greg was exceptional in the first set, I felt I didn't play too badly - so I just knuckled down in the second and took my chances.

"It still hasn't really sunk in – yet I've been dreaming of this since I first qualified for a WBT event in 2006!"

Currently ranked 18 in the world, Paxton was forced to qualify for the event which ensures a first round place only for the world's top 16.

Paxton said: "I've heard it's put me provisionally up to seven in the world rankings – and I've still got the worlds (in January) to go. But hopefully I've done enough for a top 16 place next season.

"And I can now look forward to playing in the Premier League next year – and that's fantastic!"

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