Thriller at Warilla

Scotland’s Iain McLean and Malaysia’s Siti Zalina Ahmad were crowned World Cup singles champions at the Warilla Bowls Club this afternoon.

It is consecutive World Bowls titles for McLean, who won the singles champion of champions in New Zealand last November, while the highly-decorated Ahmad’s dominated the women’s competition on route to her first World Cup victory

So comprehensive was Ahmad’s performance that the dual Commonwealth Games singles gold medallist remained unbeaten throughout the entire event and didn’t concede a set on her way to victory. In the semi finals she eclipsed promising Australian teenager Jamie-Lee Worsnop in straight sets and repeated the dose against Scottish diva Julie Forrest, a four-times WIBC world indoor singles champion, in the main event.

Forrest had an indifferent start to the championship, but came home strongly by defeating 1996 world outdoor champion Carmen Anderson from Norfolk Island to qualify third in her section. From there she outgunned Canada’s Kelly McKerihen in an elimination final, then world number one and four-times World Cup winner Jo Edwards from New Zealand in a magnificent semi final contest to gain her place in the final.

Holt, representing Australia, and McLean both topped their sections with eight wins and just one loss apiece to earn direct entry into the respective semi finals. The classy Holt, a former Commonwealth Games fours and world indoor pairs gold medallist, ended the winning streak of fellow Aussie adoptee Jeremy Henry, the three-times defending champion with a 7-7 9-6 scoreline. In the corresponding eliminator McLean, the reigning world singles champion of champions, had to pull out all stops after trailing Guernsey’s gallant Todd Priaulx 6-10 and 0-5 early in the second set. The young Channel Islander will rue his overcooked draw on the eighth end, when at 6-7 he held two shots on the head, but sliced the jack to a pair of McLean woods and the burly Scot pounced to win the set 11-6 and resultant tiebreaker 4-0.

David Allen, Inside Bowls Editor (