Irish international Gary Kelly and New Zealand superstar Jo Edwards are the new World Cup indoor singles champions.
The World Cup Indoor Championships held March, 5-19 at the Warilla Bowls & Recreation Club, NSW, Australia was a thrilling event for players and spectators alike. The final matches between Gary Kelly (Ireland) and Brendan Aquilina (Malta) and Lucy Beere (Guernsey) and Jo Edwards (New Zealand) were no exception.
Kelly was triumphant in his World Cup debut, while Edwards claimed an unprecedented sixth championship.
Kelly, who’s currently calling Warilla home, defeated clubmate Brendan Aquilina, representing Malta with distinction over the nine days of competition. Both were undefeated coming into the main event, having dropped just one set apiece from their 11 qualifying rounds.
Aquilina ended local hopes of a seventh victory from resident pro Jeremy Henry with a straight sets semi-final win earlier in the competition.
Of the 15 World Cups competed since 2005, no fewer than eight have been won by players of Irish descent, with James Talbot in 2011, Henry ‘s six in 2012, ’13, ’14, ’16, ’17, ’18 and now Gary Kelly with his 11-4 9-3 score
The reigning Commonwealth Games singles gold medalist Edwards reaffirmed her mantle as the most successful female competitor in bowls history when she claimed the women’s title.
She joined Jeremy Henry as a six-time winner of this event, having previously won in 2009, ’10, ’11, ’13 and 2017, plus, in the process, Edwards won her 13th ‘major’, two clear of Northern Ireland’s legendary Margaret Johnston’s eleven.
The rangy Kiwi defeated Guernsey pocket rocket Lucy Beere, the defending champion 8-5 10-5 in the main event. In a repeat of the 2017 final – in which she defeated Beere 8-5 2-9 4-1 – Edwards remained calm under fire as last year’s winner made a last-ditch charge at a repeat crown. But when the scores sat tied at 5-5 after six ends, Edwards raised the tempo scoring a single and a pair of twos to capture an unprecedented sixth title.
Men’s final: G Kelly (Ireland) def Aquilina (Malta) 11-4 9-3.
Women final: J Edwards (New Zealand) bt L Beere (Guernsey) 8-5 10-5.