Chloe Watson admits the enormity of her recent achievement is taking time to register! The 17 year old has written her own little chapter not only in Ireland’s history books over the weekend in Wales, but that of the World Indoor Bowls Council.
She still shakes her head in disbelief.
But a massive trophy sitting on her sideboard is a reminder of our country’s latest star in the making.
The Bangor girl is already being compared to the legendary Margaret Johnston. And, that is a compliment in itself.
No one in the ladies game has really grabbed the mantle since the former world champion decided to call time on a fabulous bowls career.
That may be about to change!
Even at a tender age, Watson has already demonstrated that she has the talent and the nerve to go a long way in the sport.
Her latest success is testament of that. Not only is she the first Irish player to parade the WIBC Under-25 singles title, but she also holds the honour of being the youngest ever winner.
This success is only a matter of weeks after she and Reece Millar became the first Irish winners of a gold medal in the British Isles Mixed pairs championship.
“It’s still all sinking in,” admitted Watson.
“The world singles title is sitting in my living room . It’s almost the same size as my Christmas tree. It will be a few weeks before I really come to terms with it.
“My initial aim was to get out of the group stages. After that is was a matter of focusing on one game at a time.
“To be honest, I got stronger as the tournament progressed and my confidence was soaring.
“After reaching the final, I was determined not to let the chance pass me by.”
Claire Kelly was Ireland’s last player in the final, back in the 1999-2000 season.
Unfortunately, the Provincial representative - she now resided in Wales - lost out to Australia’s Karen Murphy.
Chloe was still a toddler. Fast forward 15 years.
The Bangor teen now has her name etched on the trophy, joining the likes of Amy Monkhouse, Kerry Packwood, Jamie Lea Winch, Caroline Brown and Amy Stanton.
Just like Johnston, Chloe has the knack of drawing to the jack with an eerie consistency.
Even with the Welsh supporters breathing down her neck, she held her nerve and continued to pepper the head with a series of breath-taking deliveries.
It was a case of an old head on young shoulders as she cut her way through the opposition in a tournament that brings together the best young players of the four home nations.
She completed the group stages without losing a game, which is another phenomenal feat.
Chloe defeated England’s Victoia Bilson, who recently qualified for the world championships at Potters Leisure Resort, Scotland’s Ailsa Robertson and her Ireland team mate Erin Smith.
Shen then racked up wins over a Welsh trio in the form of Lauren Selway, Hanna Clarke and Amy Williams.
And, when she lined out against Williams again in the final, there was just no stopping Watson from landing the trophy she has wanted for some time. She won in straight sets, 9-6, 8-2.
Amazingly, she almost made it a glorious double celebration.
She teamed up with Scotland’s Martyn Jenkins in the Mixed pairs, but were narrowly edged out by England’s Liam Bouse and Wales’ Victoria Bilson in an epic final (4-7, 8-5).
Ireland were also right out of luck in the Men’s singles. Gary Kelly battered his way through to the semi final stage only to be beaten by England’s Jamie Walker (9-4, 9-4).
Walker went on to win the title following a runaway straight sets win (13-2, 11-1) in the against Bouse.
Belfast Indoor Bowls Club’s Men’s Evening Leagues
Monday: S Kirkwood 6 J Miller 9, D Millar 21 M Brown 4,A Robinson 12 D Nelson 10, G McCloughlin 12 JJ Leonard 9, M McKeown 10 J Hinds 12, J Frazer 12 I Hutton 6, M Kirkwood 15 M McCafferty
Tuesday “A”: J McGettrick 8 D Hamilton 17, P McVeigh 9 R Eynon 10, M Merritt 20 A Brown 3, M Leckey 19 D McCandless 9.
Tuesday “B’’: JH Campbell 12 T White 10, B Bird 13 R Meaklim 13, M Vicary 6 M Simpson 7, I McIntyre 23 D Rankin 4, E Thompson 8 K Armstrong 13, M Irvine 6 B Hunter 25.
Wednesday: B Carlisle 16 W Moran 10, J Gallagher 8 S Elliman 29, J Trolan 11 A Gary 13, J Marshall 15 H Murray 7, M Livings 14 N Hamilton 11.
Thursday: J Hinds 10 D McCluskey 16, JH Campbell 5 T Gill 12, D McCandless 17 D Livingstone 10, S Elliman 21 C Donnelly 14, F Simpson9 A Bailie 15.
Friday: C Craig 9 S Bennett 18, D Simpson 20 N Hamilton 7, D Nelson 5 I McIntyre 20, J Marshall 18 E McCourt 2, B McCoy 7 B Nixon 17, M Moorehead 7 D Clarke 17, N Mulholland 13 S Adamson 9.
Men’s Saturday League: M Irvine 4 J Marshall 17, A Bailie 2 M Merritt 29, A Briggs 14 H Johnston 13, D Burns 14 M Dunlop 13, D Simpson 16 H Murray 7, M Leckey 12 P McVeigh 16, B Kelso 8 J Herron 20, W Thompson 25 B Nixon 6, F Thompson 11 F Simpson 8.