Combatants set for world showdown
Tomorrow’s finals of the World Singles Champion of Champions at the magnificent Naenae bowls complex in Wellington New Zealand will feature an Australian, a New Zealander, an Englishman and a Malaysian, following wins by Carla Krizanic, Tayla Bruce, Sam Tolchard and Izzat Shameer Dzulkeple in today’s semi finals.
The dashing Tolchard, arguably England’s top international, put his fine repertoire of shots on display this afternoon against seasoned Irishman Gary McCloy – a former Commonwealth Games gold medallist – winning their shootout 10-6 10-4 to book his start in tomorrow’s final. To be sure McCloy played a fine game and had a tournament to be proud of, but just came up short against Tolchard on the Naenae carpet.
Without doubt the shock result of the day saw incumbent champion Lee Schraner’s title defence peter out at the hands of rising Malaysian star Izzat Shameer Dzulkeple in straight sets. Schraner was unbeaten throughout qualifying and started as favourite, however, the youthful Malaysian answered every question put to him by the experienced Aussie, and came up with some of his own, winning 10-3 7-5. It’s been a remarkable journey for Schraner who has medalled at the last three Champion of Champions.
Top women’s qualifier Carla Krizanic, the recently retired Aussie international with world and Commonwealth Games gold to her credit, secured her berth in the final in spectacular fashion – by collecting a maximum count of four on the final end of the second set to galvanise her 13-3 8-8 semi final victory over Melanie Thomas from Wales. Earlier Thomas had paved her way into the final four with a rousing 3-13 9-7 3-1 win over Malaysia’s classy Ain Tarmizi.
Carla’s opponent will be New Zealand’s Tayla Bruce who emerged from two tough matches to book the other spot in the main event. She was too accomplished for Botswana’s delightful Marea Modutlwa, winning their elimination match 14-1 6-6, then reversed a 3-9 opening set loss with a polished 14-0 5-0 finish against America’s Anne Nunes in the second set and tiebreak.
The men’s elimination finals this morning saw Dzulkeple race home in the second set scoring 10 unanswered shots when 5-0 down against local hope Kelvin Scott; while veteran Gary McCloy was relentless on the draw when he downed popular Welshman Kevin James 7-6 9-5 in a crowd-pleasing encounter.
2022 World Singles Championships, Wellington, New Zealand
Elimination finals: Izzat Shameer Dzulkeple (MAS) bt Kelvin Scott (NZL) 8-6 10-5, Gary McCloy (IRE) bt Kevin James (WAL) 7-6 9-5.
Semi finals: Sam Tolchard (ENG) bt McCloy 10-6 10-4, Dzulkeple bt Lee Schraner (AUS) 10-3 7-5.
Elimination finals: Tayla Bruce (NZL) bt Marea Modutlwa (BOT) 14-1 6-6, Mel Thomas (WAL) bt Ain Tarmizi (MAS) 3-13 9-7 3-1.
Semi finals: Carla Krizanic (AUS) bt Thomas 13-3 8-8, Bruce bt Anne Nunes (USA) 3-9 14-0 5-0.
Photo: World finalists Carla Krizanic (Australia), Tayla Bruce (New Zealand), Sam Tolchard (England) and Izzat Shameer Dzulkeple (Malaysia).