Bruce could make history in singles final

Last updated 05:00 02/01/2014

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Burnside's Tayla Bruce will chase a slice of history in the women's singles final at the New Zealand bowls championships in Dunedin on Saturday.

Helen King, of the Victoria club in Wellington, will meet 18-year-old Bruce in the final after both posted surprisingly comfortable semifinal victories yesterday.

King defeated Taradale's Angela Boyd 21-13, while Bruce accounted for Silverstream's Clare McCaul 21-11 in the semis.

The final will be a first for both players.

King is a vastly experienced Wellington representative, with 20 centre titles to her credit. Her previous best showing at the nationals was third-equal in the pairs with McCaul. She powered away from the mid-point in her game with Boyd, after they had been locked at 10-all.

"I was not worried then," King said, "as I felt I was playing well."

A four on the next end was followed by two singles and a three. Suddenly, King was in charge at 19-10. Boyd pulled back three shots on the next end, but King closed the match out with a brace on the following head.

Bruce will become the youngest winner ever of any discipline, male or female, at the nationals, should she triumph. The Christchurch bowler is in her sixth year of bowls and impressed with a cool and controlled delivery and very accurate draw play.

She did not become ruffled, either, when McCaul grabbed a four on the seventh end to lead 8-6. Rather, it seemed to coax her into concentrating even harder. Bruce claimed the next three ends to lead 12-6. Four heads later the score had become 17-9 and Bruce was in a dominant mood.

McCaul tried, firstly with a full-length end and then with the mat up close to the peg, but both times Bruce jumped straight onto her weight to ensure victory.

In the earlier quarterfinals, Bruce broke free over the last three ends to deny Paritutu's Cathy Andrews 21-16, after they had been locked at 16-all. The other quarters saw King beat Leanne Chinery (Birkenhead) 21-7, Boyd defeat Colleen Earl (United) 21-9 while McCaul ended the host club hopes in overcoming Janet Swallow (Taieri) 21-8.

Meanwhile, heavy rain forced the semifinalists in the men's pairs to a premature halt yesterday afternoon. Play will resume tomorrow afternoon.

In the semis, Andy McLean and Mitchell Will (North East Valley) are tied at 4-all after four ends against the Munro brothers, John (Morphett Vale Adelaide) and Ross (Forbury Park). The other semi has Tony Grantham (Birkenhead) and Michael Nagy (Taren Point) 7-6 in front of Gary Lawson (Victoria) and Ben King (Wilton) after eight of the 18 ends. Lawson had led 4-0 after two ends, before Grantham, a current New Zealand representative, scored seven in a row. A two to Lawson as the heavens began to open brought the game to an intriguing adjournment.

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In the quarterfinals, McLean beat Bob Sanders (Stirling) 16-13, Munro eliminated John Cross (Fairfield) 16-13, Lawson cruised home 24-10 over Paul McKinnel (Elmwood) and Grantham sneaked through 15-12 over Australian under-18 rep Sean Ingham (Broadbeach). Grantham held a two-shot lead playing the last end and produced a top second bowl to secure shot when two down.

It was in the last 16 round where sparks flew the most. Alvin Gardiner (Elmwood) and Blake Signal (Stokes Valley) went out 18-17 on an extra end to Sanders, while Chris Le Lievre (Eastbourne) and Richard Girvan (Onehunga) were beaten 22-14 by McLean. The other surprise was the elimination of Havelock's Ali Forsyth, the defending champion, and Andre Smith. They were beaten 17-8 by Ingham.

On Tuesday, Angela Boyd ended the fine run of Johnsonville's Dale Rayner 21-7 in the last 16. Rayner had beaten United's Jo Edwards, the world's No 1 ranked female player, in the second round 21-20 after Edwards had beaten her long-time pairs companion, Val Smith (United) 21-13, overturning an 11-1 deficit.

Tuesday just wasn't the day for New Zealand representatives. After two wins, Sandra Keith (Dunsandel), the winner from two years ago, fell 21-15 in the last round of the day to McCaul.

Two teams with Canterbury connections made it into the last 16 of the men's pairs. Paul McKinnel (Elmwood), playing with Tony Cockerill (Gore) survived the day, as did the 2012 champions, Alvin Gardiner (Elmwood) and Blake Signal (Stokes Valley).

Bruce was the sole Canterbury survivor in the women's singles after the first day of post section.

THE RESULTS

Results of post section play in the New Zealand bowls championships in Dunedin yesterday: Women's singles, quarterfinals: T Bruce (Burnside) 21 C Andrews (Paritutu) 16, C McCaul (Silverstream) 21 J Swallow (Taieri) 8, A Boyd (Taradale) 21 C Earl (United) 9, H King (Victoria) 21 L Chinery (Birkenhead) 7. Semifinals: Bruce 21 McCaul 11, King 21 Boyd 13. Men's pairs, round 4: J Cross (Fairfield)/G Wilson (Kaikorai) 17 P Houlahan (Alexandra)/B Andrews (West End Timaru) 11, R Munro (Forbury Park)/J Munro (Morphett Vale Adelaide) 18 B Dyhrberg/G Allan (Kaikorai) 5, J Nicol, B Sanders (Stirling) 18 A Gardiner (Elmwood)/B Signal (Stokes Valley) 17, M Will/A McLean (North East Valley) 22 C Le Lievre (Eastbourne)/R Girvan (Onehunga) 14, B King (Wilton)/G Lawson (Victoria) 21 E Mason (Forbury Park)/S Bagrie-Howley (Gore) 17, T Cockerill (Gore)/P McKinnel (Elmwood) 21 T Ludlow (Alexandra)/R Dawe (Port Chalmers) 12, E Kelleher (Cobden)/S Ingham (Broadbeach) 17 A Smith/A Forsyth (Havelock) 8, M Nagy (Taren Point)/T Grantham (Birkenhead) 19 S Chisnall/R Botting (Timaru Town and Country) 9. Quarterfinals: Munro 16 Wilson 13, McLean 16 Sanders 13, Lawson 24 McKinnel 10, Grantham 15 Ingham 12. Semifinals progress: McLean 4 Munro 4 (after 4 ends), Grantham 7 Lawson 6 (after 8 ends).

- © Fairfax NZ News

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