City of Echuca’s Phil Thorn claimed his greatest single victory on the lawn bowls greens on Wednesday.
And it’s set him up for a trip to the Australian Open next month on the Gold Coast.
Thorn became Bowls Victoria single champion after coming back from being 11-6 down to beat Sale’s Matt Higgins 25-24 in a final-end thriller at Bendigo East.
The state championship capped off a great season for Thorn, who was also part of City’s Campaspe Valley division one men’s winning team.
The match was a truly see-sawing affair, with Thorn gaining the ascendancy 20-15 before Higgins again brought the margin back to one shot, 20-19.
It was then level at 23-all before Higgins edged a single shot ahead.
Thorn tied it all up at 24-apiece before going on to claim victory.
‘‘I just tried to concentrate and focus on what I was doing and stay calm,’’ he said after the win.
‘‘It was one of those games either bloke could have won and either bloke deserved to win, I was just the lucky one in front at the end. I’m very thrilled.’’
Thorn and Higgins had never met before the state decider — and Thorn said he hadn’t expected to win it, either.
‘‘I thought if I played as well as I can play I would go alright, but I didn’t think I would win it,’’ he said.
‘‘After Tuesday, after getting through the semi-final, I thought if I could reproduce the bowls I played yesterday I would give it a good shake. I was lucky enough to do that.’’
Thorn had beaten reigning world junior champion Aaron Wilson, from Bendigo, in the quarter-finals.
‘‘Aaron didn’t play quite as well as he can play — I played probably one of the best games of singles I have played,’’ he said.
‘‘I stuck to my draw game and I was able to get through.’’
The victory was ‘‘one for the oldies’’, according to Thorn, who turns 60 in July.
But the Australian Open won’t be a new experience — Thorn attended last year.
‘‘I look forward to that,’’ he said.
‘‘(In) the next few weeks there’s a few tournaments which will be a good lead-in.’’
Thorn also played with clubmate Wayne Brooks in the state pairs series and made it to the quarter-finals.
He was happy to acknowledge that the duo was beaten by better opponents, though he maintained it had overall been one of his best seasons in the sport.