'Lucky charm' makes the difference for International Classic title
Scotland's Iain McLean and Robert Grant win pairs title at prestige bowls event
Scotland's Iain McLean finally scooped the prize after two previous close finishes as he teamed up with "lucky charm" Robert Grant to win the pairs competition at the Hong Kong International Classic bowls event on Sunday.
McLean finished runner-up in 2010 and was third in the pairs competition last year with a different partner, but the 30-year-old from Lanarkshire made no mistake as the Scotland pair defeated New Zealand's Dan Delany and Richard Girvan 8-7, 12-4 in the final at the Kowloon Bowling Green Club.
"I'm delighted to have finally won gold. It's a great week for me and my lucky charm, Robert," said McLean, a driver for a car auction company. "This is the first time I played with Robert at the Classic and it just feels excellent to win this tournament. The Classic is one of the top events in the world outside the Commonwealth Games."
McLean and Grant were firmly in control with 53-year-old Grant playing some superb bowls and turning the game around in Scotland's favour at pivotal moments in both sets. "With one bowl to come in the first set, Robert delivered a great bowl for us to lie and win the first set. We were always in front in the second set.
"Robert bowled another great one when we were one down and [suddenly] we were four-up and that killed the game for us," said McLean.
"Robert and I live within 10 minutes of each other. We come from one of the biggest bowling areas in Scotland," said McLean.
While McLean won his first Classic title, Australia's Kelsey Cottrell was celebrating her third women's pairs title in five years.
Cottrell won the Classic title in 2009 and 2010 with Julie Keegan and was a winner again on Sunday with new partner, Carla Odgers, as they defeated Val Smith and Mandy Boyd of New Zealand 9-5, 12-8 in the final.
"It was a very close game. We didn't have the best of starts over the week. We got better and better and played our best in the final. I enjoy playing in Hong Kong," said Cottrell.