Massive upset at national bowls championships

GRANT HASSALL
Last updated 16:53 04/01/2014

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Bowls New Zealand president Ann Muir (Kensington) and Carolyn Crawford (St Clair) caused a massive upset in the final of the women's pairs at the New Zealand bowls championships in Dunedin this afternoon.

The duo, who hardly knew each other before the week started, beat the 2008 world champions, Jo Edwards and Val Smith (United) 22-15 in the final.

Edwards and Smith started brightly enough, leading 5-1 after three ends, but it was the composite combination that dominated the middle stages, especially the 10th and 12th heads. They scored five on each occasion, as the Nelson pair sprayed them around in the windy conditions, carrying them to an 18-7 lead.

Edwards and Smith pulled back their own five on the next, but that sniff was quashed by Muir when she drew a wonderful shot on the 14th end.

Crawford was now on top of Smith, and while Edwards altered the heads thereafter, the jack went against her on the 17th end, a three to Muir and Crawford confirming the result.

Meanwhile, Black Jack Tony Grantham (Birkenhead) produced two outstanding deliveries with his last two bowls to carry himself and Michael Nagy to a tense 18-17 win over John Munro (Morphett Vale Adelaide) and his brother, Ross Munro (Forbury Park) in the men's decider.

Play at times was scrappy, especially by the leads, as Grantham opened up a 14-7 lead after 11 ends.

The Munro brothers, though, climbed back into the game, with skip John again turning on a number of fine shots. That was especially true on the penultimate head when he drew two shots and then ran off Grantham's recently arrived bowl.

The two points gave the Munros a two shot lead playing the last, and lead Ross drew two handy bowls to give them the advantage.

However, Grantham with his second bowl ran the jack into the ditch and with Nagy's back bowl also in the count, the game was effectively tied up.

John Munro went in the ditch and then Grantham turned up his own bowl to increase the count to three and secure the championship for himself and Nagy.

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