Julie defies pain to claim bowls title

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JULIE Forrest’s fine form at indoor bowls shows no sign of abating in her 26th season, the multiple-champion adding another prestigious honour by winning the Super Singles at Perth this week.

Forrest, 44, saw off the challenge of Michelle Cooper at Dewars Centre in Wednesday’s televised final – but back pain sustained the day before almost ruled her out of the match.

“If it hadn’t been televised, I wouldn’t have been bowling,” admitted Forrest. “The television crew were all going live and waiting on us going on the green. They didn’t have anything else to put on!

“I put my back out on Tuesday going up a flight of stairs. I was really struggling, having to go down on my knees to pick my bowls up.

“But, some painkillers and the adrenaline that came with the occasion saw me through.

“I’ve never had to play in as much pain as that and, by the second end of the final, I thought, ‘What am I doing here?’ But, I kept fighting.”

Forrest lost the first set but scored a 2 with her final shot in the second set to force a tie-break, which she subsequently won.

“I just stole it from her more than anything else,” she said. “I just tried to get my first bowl in, and it worked.”

Forrest, an additional needs assistant at Wilton school, had beaten Emma Brown (East Lothian), Kim Watt (Stonehaven), and Lorna Cameron (Turriff) en route to the final of the competition, which features the top 16 female bowls players in Scotland.

She will be unavailable for her club Teviotdale in tomorrow’s meeting with Bainfield, allowing her time to recover from her persisting back pain.

“I’m taking the weekend off to get myself better,” she said. “There’s no point in playing when you’re like this.

“We’re a good month into the indoor season, and I’m pleased with my indoor form so far.”

An already-eventful season will not be without further highlights in the coming months, as Forrest prepares to face Sharon Leitch (Balbardie) in the semi-final of the Scottish Ladies Nationals singles at Falkirk on January 12. And in March, she is expected to win her 50th cap for Scotland at the Home Nations tournament at Stanley, near Newcastle.