Junior World Indoor Bowls Championships
At County Antrim Indoor Bowls Club, Northern Ireland
Only three players – home hopes Daniel Spratt and Shauna O’Neill, and England’s Harry Goodwin – remain unbeaten after four rounds of men’s and women’s singles at the Junior World Bowls Championships at the Jim Baker Stadium in County Antrim.
With just one round left to play tomorrow morning (WED), the high-flying trio are certain to make the knockout stage, and, if they top their groups, will be fast-tracked through to the semi finals.
Players who finish second and third in their section league tables will play off for the remaining semi final places – and competition is fierce for the chance to progress in this prestigious tournament.
Spratt, who is only 17, dropped only one shot against Canada’s Owen Kirby this morning (MON) as he returned an impressive 12-1 10-0 scorecard, but he had to work hard to beat Welsh hope Ben Matthews, 6-3 7-7.
O’Neill, who plays for the Ballybrakes indoor club in Ballymoney, won a silver medal for Ireland in the European championships in the summer, when she also represented Ireland in the Commonwealth Games. She came through unscathed yesterday, beating England’s Ruby Hill 6-6 5-3 and Channel Islander Catherine Snell 7-3 9-1.
Goodwin, who has played most of his bowls in Devon, but now lives in Kent, scorched to a 14-1 12-2 win over Californian teenager Angel Gomez, then pulled off a crucial straight sets (10-3 6-2) win against Ireland’s 21-year-old Adam Rankin, who is a Ballybrakes clubmate of O’Neill.
Overseas stars Brianna Smith, from Sydney, and Yu Yee Sin, from Hong Kong, are sitting pretty at the top of their women’s singles league table with three wins apiece. Handily placed just behind them are Welsh hope Lauren Gowen and British junior champion Kara Lees, from Scotland, who will be aiming to make the cut to the knockout stage.
Spectators are looking forward to tomorrow’s mouth-watering clash between Smith and Gowen, which the Welsh player needs to win to get through to the play-offs. Lees knows her chances depend on her getting past Israeli Shira Eshel.
In the men’s singles, there is a tasty clash between the top two players in Group A, with Goodwin facing a challenge from Hong Kong’s Chow Ho Yin, who goes by the name of Jason, while, in Group B, talented Scot Bradley Buchan, from Fraserburgh, currently in second place, is hoping to get the better of combative Canadian Owen Kirby, who is breathing down his neck.
The home countries have stamped their authority in the mixed pairs, where, with one group round left to play, England (Ruby Hill and Harry Goodwin), Ireland (Shauna O’Neill and Adam Rankin), Scotland (Kara Lees and Bradley Buchan) and Wales (Lauren Gowen and Ben Matthews) seem to be in control, joined by Guernsey’s duo Catherine Snell and Ben Harvey.
But many pundits are forecasting that the talented Australians Brianna Smith and Nick Cahill could upstage the Brits and walk off with the title. The Aussies, who showed their hand when they crushed England in their opening match, were in irrepressible form today (MON), when they scored 66 shots and conceded only six.
GROUP RESULTS (DAY 2)
Section A: Rd.3: Adam Rankin (Ireland) bt Nick Cahill (Australia) 7-5 5-4; Harry Goodwin (England) bt Angel Gomez (USA) 14-1 12-2; Chow Ho Yin (Hong Kong) bt Ben Harvey (Guernsey) 10-2 3-5 1-0. Rd.4: Chow bt Gomez 5-5 9-4; Cahill bt Harvey 9-5 14-2; Goodwin bt Rankin 10-3 6-2.
Section B: Rd.3: Daniel Spratt (Ireland) bt Owen Kirby (Canada) 12-1 10-0; Bradley Buchan (Scotland) bt Ben Matthews (Wales) 7-4 7-5; Mate Dobos (Hungary) bt Ronan Olivier (Namibia) 5-9 7-5 1-0. Rd.4: Spratt bt Matthews 6-3 7-7; Kirby bt Olivier 7-4 10-2; Buchan bt Dobos 12-1 14-1.
Standings (after 4 of 5 group matches):
Section A: 1 Goodwin 8pts; 2 Chow 6; 3 Cahill 4; 4 Rankin 2; 5 Harvey 2; 6 Gomez 2.
Section B: 1 Spratt 8pts; 2 Buchan 6; 3 Kirby 4; 4 Matthews 2; 5Olivier 2; 6 Dobos 2.
Section A: Rd.3: Brianna Smith (Australia) bt Shira Eshel (Israel) 15-4,14-1; Yu Yee Sin (Hong Kong) bt Kara Lees (Scotland) 4-6 9-6 1-0; Laura Gowen (Wales) bt Amy Spence (Canada) 6-4 13-2. Rd.4: Smith bt Lees 7-5 8-4; Eshel bt Spence 7-6 6-7 1-0; Gowen bt Yu 7-6 8-4.
Section B: Rd.3: Ellie Dixon (Norfolk Island) bt Sarolta Schrank (Hungary) 18-1 15-1; Catherine Snell (Guernsey) bt Larissa Rubin (Switzerland) 6-4 4-7 1-0; Shauna O’Neill (Ireland) bt Ruby Hill (England) 6-6 5-3. Rd.4: Hill bt Dixon 1-6 12-0,1-0; O’Neill bt Snell 7-3 9-1; Rubin bt Schrank 7-3 11-1.
Standings (after 4 of 5 group matches):-
Section A: 1 Smith 6pts; 2 Yu 6; 3 Gowen 4; 4 Lees 4; 5 Eshel 4; 6 Spence 0.
Section B: 1 O’Neill 8pts; 2 Hill 6; 3 Dixon 4; 4 Rubin 4; 5 Snell 2; 6 Schrank 0.
Section A: Rd.3: Cahill & Smith bt Dobos & Schrank 16-1 17-3; Harvey & Snell bt Gomez & Dixon 11-2 9-4; Goodwin & Hill bt Spratt & Rubin 8-2 7-6. Rd.4: Harvey & Snell bt Spratt & Rubin 11-2,6-9 1-0; Goodwin & Hill bt Dobos & Schrank 19-1 16-0; Cahill & Smith bt Gomez & Dixon 19-2 14-0.
Section B: Rd.3: Matthews & Gowen bt Chow & Yu 5-4 5-8 1-0; Buchan & Lees bt Olivier & Eshel 14-2 14-3; Rankin & O’Neill bt Kirby & Spence 12-5 8-3. Rd.4: Buchan & Lees bt Rankin & O’Neill 3-10 4-3 1-0; Chow & Yu bt Olivier & Eshel 12-3 16-0; Matthews & Gowen bt Kirby & Spence 9-2 8-3.
Standings (after 4 of 5 group matches):-
Section A: 1 Cahill, Smith 8pts; 2 Goodwin, Hill 6; 3 Harvey, Snell 6; 4 Spratt, Rubin 4; 5 Gomez, Dixon 0; 6 Dobos, Schrank 0.
Section B: 1 Buchan, Lees 8pts; 2 Rankin, O’Neill 6; 3 Matthews, Gowen 6; 4 Chow, Yu 4; 5 Kirby, Spence 0; 6 Olivier, Eshel 0.