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Central bowlers jump four joy

20:08 18 July 2014

Mitch Brenner and Paul Woodford celebrate with a hug after the moment of triumph

Mitch Brenner and Paul Woodford celebrate with a hug after the moment of triumph

Archant

Lichkin is the star in county triumph

The heartbreak of last season’s semi-final defeat turned to joy on Saturday at WeA nationals at Leamington, with a dramatic victory which went down to the last wood of the final end.

With Central clinging on to an 18-17 lead on the final end, Pegasus skip Mark Christmas had a chance to wrest the shot and force an extra end, but when his effort went through the tiniest of gaps in the head, the match belonged to Brenner and his boys.

“We are chuffed, absolutely chuffed,” said an emotional Brenner after the match. “I am just so pleased for Paul Woodford and you could see what it meant to Russell Hughes.

“When we was at a little club at Clay Hall, we got beaten on that rink over there, then we got beat last year, this is brilliant.”

In a marathon, tense encounter, Central had to come from behind to beat a Pegasus team which boast three Middleton Cup players. At one stage they led 13-7 and even the confident Brenner was beginning to get worried.

“You never think you are going to lose, but when you are six shots down against class players. I thought, if we had gone another couple down, then maybe it was going to be too hard,” said Brenner, who nervously puffed on a cigarette as the match began to get tighter and tighter.

This was a victory borne on the prowess of lead Terry Lichkin. The diminutive bowler’s green woods seem to have a magnetic attraction to the jack and as Central moved ahead for the first time at 15-13, it was he who was setting things up.

“Terry was very, very good today. Russell was a lot better, Paul was very good today and I was average,” said Brenner. “But it doesn’t matter because we are a team.”

So was there a turning point? Brenner considers.

“I can’t really say there was one bowl. It was just sticking in there, but when we got one to make it 13-8, I shouted out to Terry ‘full length’ and that made a difference. We kept it long and it messed their number two up as well.

“It was tense and to be fair it got very, very close, but it is great to be through.”

The Central boys will take on four from hosts Essex County in the final, but for Brenner the job is already done.

“This was my final,” he said. “Just to get to Leamington. We can can come out and enjoy the final and drink them under the table!

“We are certainly going to try and win it though, it would be nice to have a trophy.”

They will have to do so without Lichkin though. The final falls on his birthday and his family have booked afternoon tea at Harrods and a trip to Miss Saigon, so Steve Welsh will step into the breach.”

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