Otago Daily Times
Mcilroy claims fifth title
DRAGGING the jack into the ditch to score three shots broke the deadlock and set up world singles champion Shannon McIlroy for an unprecedented fifth title at the North East Valley 10,000 yesterday.
After McIlroy jumped out to an eightshot lead against fellow Black Jack Andrew Kelly (Canterbury) following just four ends, Kelly rediscovered the form that eluded him in the opening rounds when McIlroy was homing in on the jack at will, forcing his opponent into error.
Dropping four shots to McIlroy (Nelson) on a replay of the third end spurred Kelly into action and he closed the game up to 88 over the next four ends.
The two then went shot for shot over the next six ends until McIlroy's demolition of the jack on the 14th end, and he backed up with another three shots on the 15th end and a single on the 16th to sit on match point.
It took another three ends but McIlroy prevailed, 2117.
Both players were selected in the world championship squad earlier this year, but the tournament remains another victim of Covid 19.
The only plus is that McIlroy gets to hold on to the world singles title for a while longer before having to defend it.
McIlroy (33), a contract painter from Stoke, first won the title as a teenager in 2006.
His other victories were in 2009, 2012 and last year.
His win yesterday meant he became just the fourth player in the event’s 30year history to go back to back following Jim Scott (North East Valley) in 200001, Russell Meyer (Palmerston North) in 200405 and Commonwealth Games champion Aaron Wilson (Cabramatta, Australia) in 201718.
After being tested by some of the emerging talent in the country, McIlroy said he might as well enjoy the time in the winner’s circle before they got the better of him.
“When I first won this title in 2006, it was a golden era for bowls. Now I look around and feel like one of the old guys,” he said at the presentation.
“I don't know about you guys
Quarterfinals: Finbar McGuigan (Stokes Valley) 21, Sheldon BagrieHowley (Gore) 8; Shannon McIlroy (Stoke Nelson) 21, Andrew McLean (Taieri) 6; Andrew Kelly (Canterbury) 21, Tom Taiaroa (South Canterbury) 4; Caleb Hope (Stokes Valley) 21, Murray Scott (Nelson) 15.
Semifinals: Kelly 21, Hope 4; McIlroy 21, McGuigan 16.
Final: Shannon McIlroy (Stoke Nelson) 21, Andrew Kelly (Canterbury) 17.
but I feel buggered,” he added of not having played much over the past six months because of Covid19 restrictions.
McIlroy was full of praise for Finbar McGuighan (Stokes Valley, Wellington), against whom he had to dig deep to win 2116 in the semifinal.
“The kid's going to be good, isn't he?” he said.
“I like the way he plays and his attitude, demeanour — fearless. I need to try and win as many as I can before players like him come up and take over.”
McIlroy added that it was about taking his chances and playing his shots at the right time that got him through.
Kelly was full of respect for McIlroy after the final.
“Shannon is obviously a worldclass player and you always know you're going to have a dingdong battle when you come up against him,” he said.
McIlroy and Kelly were the form players throughout the Speight'ssponsored tournament and, being on opposite sides of the draw, both proved worthy finalists, and will be better for the competition with events such as the Stoke Pairs next month and national championships in Auckland in January.
The tournament proved a double celebration for North East Valley Bowling Club stalwarts Jim and Donna Scott.
They celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary as the tournament marked the same milestone.
Terry has remained one of the tournament organisers since its inception in 1990, while Donna is the driving force being the hearty meals provided for the bowlers and all involved.