World Cup champions crowned
Irish international Gary Kelly and New Zealand superstar Jo Edwards were crowned as World Cup indoor singles champions in Australia at the Warilla Bowls & Recreation Club today.
In his first tournament start at the mega club’s indoor stadium Kelly triumphed in his World Cup debut, while Edwards claimed an unprecedented sixth championship.
Kelly, who is currently calling Warilla home, defeated clubmate Brendan Aquilina, who represented Malta with distinction over the nine days of competition. Both were undefeated coming into the main event, having dropped just one set apiece from their 11 qualifying rounds.
It was Aquilina who ended local hopes of a seventh victory from resident pro Jeremy Henry with a straight sets semi final win earlier today.
Of the 15 World Cups competed since 2005, no fewer than eight have been won by players of Irish descent, with James Talbot in 2011, Henry ‘s six in 2012, ’13, ’14, ’16, ’17, ’18 and now Gary Kelly with his 11-4 9-3 scoreline.
Edwards, the reigning Commonwealth Games singles gold medalist reaffirmed her mantle as the most-successful female competitor in bowls history when she claimed the women’s title.
She joined Jeremy Henry as a six-times winner of this event, having previously won in 2009, ’10, ’11, ’13 and 2017, plus, in the process Edwards won her 13th ‘major’, two clear of Northern Ireland’s legendary Margaret Johnston’s eleven.
The rangy Kiwi defeated Guernsey pocket rocket Lucy Beere, the defending champion 8-5 10-5 in the main event. In a repeat of the 2017 final – in which she defeated Beere 8-5 2-9 4-1 – Edwards remained calm under fire as last year’s winner made a last ditch charge at a repeat crown. But when the scores sat tied at 5-5 after six ends, Edwards raised the tempo scoring a single and a pair of twos to capture an unprecedented sixth title.
Semi final 2: B Aquilina (MLT) bt J Henry (AUS) 8-6 7-4.
Final: G Kelly (IRE) bt Aquilina11-4 9-3.
Final: J Edwards (NZL) bt L Beere (GUE) 8-5 10-5.