Medal rolls out of Shannon McIlroy's grasp

IAN ANDERSON IN GLASGOW
Last updated 07:21 02/08/2014
Shannon McIlroy
Getty
BEATEN: Kiwi lawn bowler Shannon McIlroy was left empty-handed after being well beaten in the bronze medal singles match in Glasgow.

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Shannon McIlroy was lassoed, hog-tied and run out of town by the Sherriff.

New Zealand's men's singles representative was shown who was boss in the bronze medal match in the lawn bowls competition in Glasgow by Australia's Aron Sherriff.

The trans-Tasman battle was close to a no-contest, despite McIlroy's fighting qualities, as Sherriff made a rapid-fire start and was never headed after the second end, eventually winning 21-8 to leave McIlroy without a medal to match the bronze of wife Amy.

"He was unbelievable," a magnanimous McIlroy said shortly after his Commonwealth Games defeat under a late warming sun at the magnificent Kelvingrove greens.

"He was just so consistent through that game."

In contrast, McIlroy admitted he struggled with his line for a lot of the 19-end encounter.

"It was a long while before I played anything that put him under any pressure. He just flew out of the blocks and I was a little bit slow to react."

Sherriff instantly proved a formidable foe with his accurate drawing game and excellent weight.

After conceding the first end to a McIlroy single, Sherriff then put together a run of tremendous bowls.

McIlroy had his moments but wasn't consistent enough, allowing his Down Under rival to regularly put pressure on by holding a couple of shots each end.

Sherriff pulled away to lead 7-1 and then things went far worse for the Stoke club player, who couldn't get near the kitty as the Australian put four bowls within distance before McIlroy's run shot to disturb the head never came in enough.

That saw Sherriff extend his lead to 11-1 and another quick medal-match finish looked highly likely when he led 13-1.

McIlroy finally broke his run of nine ends without scoring when he drew long after Sherriff's drive put the kitty in the ditch, but usual service was resumed as the Australian fans brought out a rendition of the "Aussie Aussie Aussie" chant.

A local wag replied "Come on the All Blacks!" which bought a smile from McIlroy and he responded with better draw play but still trailed 17-5 after 15 ends.

"You've got to do something, change something. Obviously what I was doing was wrong - he was getting a free run to the jack," he said.

"I tried to change the length of the jack a couple of times, but he was too good on the day. Whatever I threw at him, he came back twice as strong."

He got to 18-8 and held shot, but Sherriff played another marvellous run shot to remove McIlroy's bowl and claim the three he needed to gain bronze.

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McIlroy was beaten in the semifinals by good friend Ryan Bester of Canada, who was steamrolled 21-9 by the host nation's Darren Burnett in the gold medal match.

He's also tight with his latest conqueror.

"He's a real good mate. We first played each other when I played for New Zealand against Aussie in the juniors when I was 14.

"It's pretty cool that I can get to play my good mate in a game like that."

The NZ bowls team finished the tournament with three medals - gold for Jo Edwards, silver for the para-bowls open triples team and McIlroy's wife Amy earlier won bronze as part of the New Zealand women's fours team along with Selina Goddard, Val Smith and Mandy Boyd.

That bronze may mean Shannon is on dish-drying duty when he gets home.

"I'll let her have this - she deserves it too," he said.

"She put in a lot of hard work, super-proud husband really.

"I don't mind doing dishes, mate - it's all good."

- Stuff

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