Australia Day triumph for Karen Murphy in World Bowls Championship at Potters

Karen Murphy, from New South Wales, celebrated Australia Day at Potters Leisure Resort yesterday in the best way possible – by winning the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines women's World Matchplay singles title.

'That ranks right up there with my Commonwealth Games gold medal I won in 2006, and the world outdoor pairs title I picked up in 2008,' said an elated Murphy.

After returning a lop-sided 4-10 7-6 2-0 scorecard, the 37-year-old Aussie admitted she had 'stolen' the title from Debbie Stavrou, who was hoping to win it for the third time.

'My heart is racing at 100 miles an hour, and I'm thanking my lucky stars – but I realise that Debbie will feel quite deflated, because she probably outbowled me over the whole game,' Murphy conceded.

'But that's the sets format,' she added. 'You have to play the big bowls at the right time, and I managed two bowls towards the end of the second set that kept me in the game.'

Stavrou, who plays for the Desborough club in Maidenhead, held a firm grip when she won the first set at a canter, then established a 6-2 lead in the second set, with only three ends left to play.

Poised to score another two shots, which would have put her virtually out of reach, Stavrou looked on in horror as Murphy trailed the jack a few inches to score two shots that kept her in the hunt.

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A Murphy single on the eighth end, and the Aussie was only one shot adrift, but by the time she stood on the mat to deliver the last bowl on the ninth end, she was in trouble.

Stavrou had just re-arranged the head so that she was holding shot, so Murphy's chances of survival depended on her repeating the sort of bowl she had played to take two shots on the seventh end.

Rising to the challenge, she produced the perfect bowl, moving the jack towards her own nearest, and staying in the count for a double.

Even then, Stavrou had an opportunity to win the game with her last bowl, but made the basic error of making sure she reached the head, and sailed by.

Suddenly, although Murphy had been outscored by 16 shots to 11, she had earned the right to contest a tiebreak, and, showing the professionalism that she has learnt in the Aussie elite system, she took her chance clinically.

Having not operated too well with her opening deliveries earlier in the final, she stamped her authority from the start on the first two tiebreak ends, and won them both.

'I was the underdog, I guess, but I had the upper hand in the tiebreak,' she observed afterwards.

Stowmarket star Mark Royal was disappointed as much with his form as with the result after losing to Jason Greenslade, who became the third Welshman through to the quarter finals of the singles.

'I wasn't consistent enough,' admitted Royal. 'Having said that, I thought I had turned the game around after making a slow start, but I couldn't close the game down in the tiebreak when it mattered.

Greenslade won the first set at a canter, but Royal scored a full house on the seventh end of the second set, and won it with ease, then took the first end of the best-of-three tiebreak, before Greenslade got home, 10-7, 5-11, 2-1.

Yesterday's other two matches saw Stewart Anderson, runner-up in 2010, lost in a tie-break to another of the up-and-coming brigade, Wayne Hogg while another Scot, Darren Burnett, regained his composure after losing the second set 13-0 against Robert Paxton to win the tiebreak.


Open singles quarter-finals

10am: Andy Thomson (Eng) v Nick Brett (Eng).

1pm: David Price (Wales) v David Gourlay (Scot) followed by Wayne Hogg (Scot) v Jason Greenslade (Wales).

7.30pm: Darren Burnett (Scot) v Robert Weale (Wales).


Open singles semi-finals

12.40pm: Price or Gourlay v Hogg or Greenslade.

2.30pm: Thomson or Brett v Burnett or Weale


Open singles final: 2.30pm


Women's Matchplay singles final: Karen Murphy (Aust) bt Debbie Stavrou (Eng) 4-10, 7-6, 2-0.

Open Singles, 2nd rd: Wayne Hogg (Scot) bt Stewart Anderson (Scot) 7-6, 6-12, 2-1; Jason Greenslade (Wales) bt Mark Royal (Eng) 10-7, 5-11, 2-1; Darren Burnett (Scot) bt Robert Paxton (Eng) bt 9-7 0-13 2-0.

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