MO Foord has achieved what is surely a unique feat spanning 37 years of the Bowls England Championships.

He first qualified for the nationals in 1976 – the year they moved to Worthing from the Watney’s Brewery site in Mortlake – and has now reached the Sussex venue again in the final season before the championships are switched to Royal Leamington Spa.

The 79-year-old Poole Park stalwart has booked his ticket in the triples alongside Dennis Tape MBE and skip Gordon Brown after going through to the Dorset final.

Though Foord has been there on 11 previous occasions, no-one is more surprised than the man himself to again be Worthing-bound: “I thought we had no hope of getting there but it seems we just played better than the opposition. It’s astonishing – I just did my bit and then left it to the other two.”

Worthing seemed a distant dream when the trio trailed 17-5 to the fellow Poole Park trio of Chris Weekes in the round before the quarter-final.

“But once we won the jack, I put up a long jack and it was a different game – we went through 21-17,” said Foord, who started playing bowls in 1973 with Alexandra Park.

He first earned a place in the nationals three years later in the fours with regular comrades Ron Dugdale, Bob Powell and skip Barry Sheppard when the event was run by the English Bowling Association.

Foord, who moved to Poole Park in 1995, last reached the nationals in 2002 for the singles. Having been there on several occasions in the fours and pairs, the former Middleton Cup bowler has now completed the set of the majors as this is his first time in the triples.

Foord is very much looking forward to the championships, which begin for his triple on August 15 and, with retirement from the sport in mind, it would be the perfect way to bow out with a national title.