St Neots star Michelle Barlow has fulfilled a lifetime ambition by capturing national title glory.

Barlow, 39, won the English Indoor Bowls Association (EIBA) women’s singles title at Melton Mowbray last Saturday.

She pipped teenage talent Devon Cooper, of the Riverain club in Hitchin, 21-20 in a thrilling final.

Barlow said: “I’ve been playing bowls for 25 years, and this is the high-point of my career.”

Barlow trailed for much of the showpiece clash. She was 15-8 down after 15 ends but fought back tenaciously to level just three ends later.

Cooper then kicked on again to open up a four-shot lead at 20-16 and move to the brink of victory, but back-to-back doubles hauled Barlow level and set-up a winner-takes-all final end.

And it was Barlow who claimed the single shot required to lift the national crown, but she immediately paid tribute to her opponent some 24 years her junior.

Barlow added: “I’m delighted to have won, but I am convinced Devon will be standing where I am, and holding this trophy, in the future. She was tremendous.”