Junior World Indoor Championships
At County Antrim Indoor Bowls Club
The calculators came out at the Jim Baker Stadium in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, today (WEDNESDAY), and there were furrowed brows when 24 of the world’s best young lawn bowlers nervously homed in on places in the knockout stages of the World Junior Bowls Championships.
In the early morning session, Australia and Scotland finished on top of their respective mixed pairs leagues and were rewarded by being fast-tracked through to tomorrow’s (THURSDAY) semi finals.
In Section A, the high-flying Aussies, Brianna Smith and Nick Cahill, kept their unbeaten record intact and completed their round robin with a fine 14-1, 7-4 win over scratch pairing Larissa Rubin, from Switzerland and local hope Daniel Spratt.
In Section B, Kara Lees, the British junior women’s champion, from the Abbeyview club in Dunfermline, and Bradley Buchan, from Fraserburgh, lost their unbeaten record when they were pipped on a tiebreak by Hong Kong China’s rising stars Yu Yee Sin and Chow Ho Yin, who returned an extraordinarily lop-sided 8-5, 0-16, 1-0 scorecard – but the Scots still topped the group.
The second and third teams in the league tables were required to play off for the remaining places in the semi finals, and, as luck would have it, in both Sections, the pairs concerned were faced with the prospect of a swift re-match.
Thus, it was that England’s Ruby Hill and Harry Goodwin, who had beaten Guernsey’s Catherine Snell, 9-1, 7-3, in the morning, returned to the green to face the Channel Islanders again, while Welsh stars Lauren Gowen and Ben Matthews, who had pipped Ireland’s Shauna O’Neill and Adam Rankin, in an 8-7, 4-4 thriller, had to repeat the feat if they were to make progress.
Hill and Goodwin made no mistake, chalking up a 12-2, 5-4 straight sets win over Snell and Harvey, but O’Neill and Rankin needed a tiebreak to get past Gowen and Matthews, 8-2, 3-8, 1-0.
In today’s semi finals, Hill and Goodwin will face Scots pair Kara Lees and Bradley Buchan, while O’Neill and Rankin come up against Aussies Brianna Smith and Nick Cahill.
The home crowd had plenty to cheer as Ballybrakes clubmates Shauna O’Neill, a silver medallist at the European outdoor championships in the summer, and Daniel Spratt, from Belfast, a promising footballer, who is only 17, swept into the semi finals of the men’s and women’s singles.
Spratt, who plays outdoors for the prestigious Belmont club, kept his unbeaten record intact, though he showed signs of nerves in his 9-3, 6-7, 1-0 win over Namibia’s 18-year-old Ronan Olivier, while O’Neill slipped up for the first time this week, losing to Ellie Dixon, who represented Norfolk Island in the Commonwealth Games in July.
Harry Goodwin, a Kent-based Devonian, also came through unbeaten in his men’s singles group, guaranteeing him a place in tomorrow’s semi finals, but players from Australia and Hong Kong made sure that the event did not turn into a home countries monopoly.
Hong Kong China’s exciting prospect Yu Yee Sin, who is 24, finished on top of her women’s singles group, with Australia’s Brianna Smith in second place, while Aussie Nick Cahill and Hong Kong China’s 19-year-old Chow Ho Yin finished second and third in their men’s singles group, and will do battle tomorrow morning for a place in the semi finals.
Tomorrow, then, Smith and Scotland’s Kara Lees will meet for the chance to play O’Neill in one semi final, while England’s Ruby Hill and Norfolk Island’s Ellie Dixon lock horns to see who will meet Yu in the other semi final.
Meanwhile, in the men’s singles, Cahill and Chow will be battling over the right to play Spratt, while Scotland’s Bradley Buchan and Welsh international Ben Matthews meet to decide who will take on Harry Goodwin.
Photo: Hong Kong China’s Yu Yee Sin was top qualifier in women’s Section B.
RESULTS – DAY 3
Section A: Rd.5: Ben Harvey (Guernsey) bt Adam Rankin (Ireland) 5-4 10-6; Nick Cahill (Aus) bt Angel Gomez (USA) 8-2 6-5; Harry Goodwin (England) bt Chow Ho Yin (Hong Kong China) 6-2 7-5.
Section B: Rd.5: Ben Matthews (Wales) bt Mate Dobos (Hungary) 8-4 6-2; Bradley Buchan (Scotland) bt Owen Kirby (Canada) 12-4 7-6; Daniel Spratt (Ireland) bt Ronan Olivier (Namibia) 9-3 6-7 1-0.
Section A: 1 Goodwin 10 points; 2 Cahill 6 (+18 shots); 3 Chow 6 (-7); 4 Harvey 4; 5 Rankin 2 (-13); 6 Gomez 2 (-50).
Section B: 1 Spratt 10 points; 2 Buchan 8; 3 Matthews 4 (-2 shots); 4 Kirby 4 (-9); 5 Olivier 2 (-38); 6 Dobos 2 (-56).
Section A: Rd.5: Yu Yee Sin (Hong Kong China) bt Amy Spence (Canada) 8-1 8-3; Laura Gowen (Wales) bt Brianna Smith (Australia) 10-2 6-5; Kara Lees (Scotland) bt Shira Eshel (Israel) 11-6 11-3.
Section B: Rd.5: Catherine Snell (Guernsey) bt Sarolta Schrank (Hungary) 11-3 7-7; Ellie Dixon (Norfolk Island) bt Shauna O’Neill (Ireland) 7-4 7-4; Ruby Hill (England) bt Larissa Rubin (Switzerland) 10-1 9-2.
Section A: 1 Yu 8 points; 2 Smith 6 (+34 shots); 3 Lees 6 (+30); 4 Gowen 6 (+24); 5 Eshel 4; 6 Spence 0.
Section B: 1 O’Neill 8 points (+55 shots); 2 Hill 8 (+50); 3 Dixon 6; 4 Rubin 4 (-14); 5 Snell 4 (-18); 6 Schrank 0.
Section A: Rd.5: Cahill & Smith bt Spratt & Rubin 14-1 7-4; Goodwin & Hill bt Harvey & Snell 9-1 7-3; Gomez & Dixon bt Dobos & Schrank 10-1 11-1.
Section B: Rd.5: Matthews & Gowen bt Rankin & O’Neill 8-7 4-4; Chow & Yu bt Buchan & Lees 8-5 0-16 1-0; Kirby & Spence bt Olivier & Eshel 7-5 10-4.
Section A: 1 Cahill & Smith 10 points; 2 Goodwin & Hill 8; 3 Harvey & Snell 6; 4 Spratt & Rubin 4; 5 Gomez & Dixon 2; 6 Dobos & Schrank 0.
Section B: 1 Buchan & Lees 8 points; 2 Matthews & Gowen 8; 3 Rankin & O’Neill 6; 4 Chow & Yu 6; 5 Kirby & Spence 2; 6 Olivier & Eshel 0.