Another teenager into finals at bowls champs
A second teenager has made it into the singles final at the New Zealand bowls championships in Dunedin.
Yesterday it was the turn of Sean Ingham, 19, from the Broadbeach club on Australia's Gold Coast, as he blitzed his way into today's final.
Tayla Bruce, 18, from Burnside, will contest the women's final today.
Ingham will play dual winner Ali Forsyth (Havelock) in the final, after he blew Fairfield's Robbie Thomson away 21-5. Forsyth sneaked through, 21-20, over Kaikorai's Kerry Becks in the other semifinal.
Ingham has played bowls for nine years and rated his achievement in making the final as "being right up there". He has previously won Queensland pairs and triples titles.
It was almost a no-contest against Thomson, whose normally reliable draw game disappeared in the swirling wind.
In the other semifinal, Becks held the biggest lead during the game at 11-7, but thereafter it became a close, tense encounter. Forsyth's greater accuracy on the drive was possibly the defining factor, as it has been throughout his campaign, characterised by the number of comeback victories he has had.
Late in the game, Becks scored a three to lead 20-17, but Forsyth replied with two braces to secure the match, with Becks badly missing two drives at a wide target on the last end.
In the quarterfinals, Ingham overpowered Andy McLean (North East Valley) 21-9, while Thomson was always in control against Gary Watson (Nelson), prevailing 21-8. The other two quarters were intriguing matches. Becks edged out Stokes Valley player Blake Signal 21-18, while Forsyth came from behind to beat Paddy Stewart (Rangiora) 21-16.
National President Ann Muir (Kensington) rose to the occasion and produced a superb final delivery to book a place in the women's pairs final yesterday.
Muir and Carolyn Crawford (St Clair) will play the favoured United duo of Jo Edwards and Val Smith in the final this afternoon.
Muir and Crawford scored successive threes mid-game to surge ahead of defending champions Sandra Keith and Serena Matthews (Dunsandel), and looked in control leading 17-10 with two ends to play.
But then Muir and Crawford packed up. Dunsandel scored a good five and held another bundle on the last end, although the second shot was a metre away. After playing two shockers, Muir drew off the shot bowl for an 18-15 win.
In the other semi, Edwards and Smith were too clinical for Karen Hema and Selina Goddard (Carlton Cornwall), winning 18-10. The Nelson pair got off to a flyer, leading 9-1 after five ends, and after 10 heads the margin had become 14-3.
Hema and Goddard overturned a 9-4 deficit after seven ends to beat Helen King and Lisa White (Victoria) 18-12 in the quarterfinals. Edwards and Smith also had to come from behind. They trailed Anne Bateman (Hikurangi) and Rachael McDowall (North East Valley) 8-4 after eight ends, before the classy duo pulled away to win 19-11.
Keith and Matthews didn't have things all their own way against Paritutu pair Heather Johns and Val Keightley before winning 18-14. Muir and Crawford beat Amy McIlroy (United) and Clare McCaul (Silverstream) 19-14 in the other quarterfinal.
The Paritutu duo scored a four and a three early to take the lead. After 12 ends they were in front 12-9, before three singles to Dunsandel tied things up. And the trend continued with Dunsandel drawing more consistently, a four followed by a two setting up the victory for Keith and Matthews.
The rain-delayed pairs semifinals turned into humdingers, with Tony Grantham (Birkenhead) and Michael Nagy (Taren Point) emerging to meet the Munro brothers John (Morphett Vale Adelaide) and Ross (Forbury Park) in today's final.
Grantham and Nagy got the nod 17-15 over Gary Lawson (Victoria) and Ben King (Wilton), after the scores had been level playing the last end. Grantham took advantage of the open hand, flicking the jack with his second bowl for shot. There was also drama on the penultimate end, when a brilliant Lawson bowl gave him four shots, but he then turned in Grantham's bowl for second shot.
An extra end was required in the other semi, as the Munros went from 15-10 down with four ends to play to edge out North East Valley's Andy McLean and Mitchell Will 20-18.