Double Gold for Bold Aussies

An heroic trail shot to collect four shots and ultimate victory for Australian superstar Karen Murphy was perhaps a fitting climax to a day of Aussie domination at the Burnside Bowls Club.

Leading 17-14 in the race to twenty-one for the women’s singles crown at the World Bowls Championships, Murphy made the bold decision to play a weighted shot to collect the ‘full count’ which her opponent Lesley Doig from Scotland says she ‘will never forget’.

Murphy’s win now positions her firmly among the sport’s immortals – she joins Ireland great Margaret Johnston (2000, 2004) and New Zealand’s Elsie Wilkie (1973, 1977) as back-to-back winners, while she needs another to victory match Johnston’s three wins – and who could possibly rule out the Aussie diva going again at Broadbeach in 2020…

However, her list of world championship wins is second-to-none. Prior to today’s heroics she has struck gold at the following world events: 2000 under-25 indoor singles, Llanelli, Wales UK; 2006 Commonwealth Games pairs (with Lynsey Armitage), Melbourne, Australia; 2008 world fours (with Lynsey Armitage, Claire Duke and Julie Keegan), Christchurch NZ; 2012 world indoor matchplay singles, Potters Resort, Norfolk UK; 2012 world singles and triples (with Natasha Van Eldik and Lynsey Armitage), Adelaide, Australia; and the 2013 world singles champion of champions, at Burnside in Christchurch NZ.

To reach today’s main event Murphy won a nail-biting semi final 21-20 against Canada’s Kelly McKerihen on Friday, while Doig was impressive in her 21-17 win over New Zealand’s wonderful Jo Edwards.

Earlier in the day Australia secured its second gold medal of these championships when Brett Wilkie and Aaron Wilson proved too accomplished for Ireland’s Gary Kelly and Ian McClure.

With Wilkie dominating in the lead position early, the Aussies held firm during the initial Irish onslaught, but from the fourth end onwards when the scoreboard read 3-2, it was one-way traffic as the Jackaroos – with Wilson now in full flight – only allowed their opponents five scores while they piled on 14 shots over the ensuing 13 ends.

Wilson and Wilkie stamped their intentions in the semi finals when they ousted defending champions and hot favourites Alex Marshall and Paul Foster from Scotland 17-11, while in the corresponding eliminator, McClure and Kelly outgunned New Zealand’s Shannon McIlroy and Mike Kernaghan 17-10 to secure their berth in the main event.

It is a second world title this year for 25-year-old Wilson, who claimed the junior singles crown at Broadbeach in March; while Brett Wilkie, in what could ‘possibly’ be his swansong in the distinctive Australian livery, takes his tally to three, having previously won the singles champion of champions at Ayr, Scotland in 2009 and the 2012 world fours in Adelaide.

Next Tuesday sees the championship’s reverse program get under way with women’s pairs and triples along with men’s singles and fours at the four major venues: Burnside, Bowls Canterbury Centre, Bowls Papanui and Fendalton.

Photos: • Women’s singles medallists – Lesley Doig (silver), Karen Murphy (gold), Jo Edwards (bronze), Kelly McKerihen (bronze). • Newly-crowned men’s pairs champions Brett Wilkie and Aaron Wilson.