2024 Australian Open: Day 14 recap

by Val Febbo on June 21, 2024

The concluding day of the 2024 Australian Open proved to be one of the most thrilling in event history with a plethora of players etching their names into tournament folklore after the final disciplines saw their champions crowned.

Following the final presentation, Western Australian and women’s singles winner Laura Butler was named as the 2024 player of the tournament.

Men’s Singles – Final

Aron Sherriff made history as the first bowler in the history of the Australian Open to claim three consecutive singles titles after a gripping 21-19 win over Cohen Litfin.

In what would be a record-extending sixth crown in the discipline, the Right at Home Jackaroo managed to fight off his Queensland teammate in a contest fitting of a final.

Having not lost in singles play at the tournament for 1,093 days, Litfin proved that he was more than up for the fight with the pair trading blows early in the contest.

The younger combatant would prove to be a thorn in Sherriff’s side, remaining within a full count throughout the majority of the contest, utilising his prowess on the long ends to keep the five-time winner on his toes.

At 17-15, the Broadbeach product tightened the screws to put down some sublime bowls and move to within a shot of victory.

Litfin was undeterred, and lifted his intensity to play two supreme ends and narrow the gap to just a solitary shot.

The final end saw Litfin holding game with Sherriff needing to come up with something spectacular to hoist the trophy for a sixth time, and he obliged as he has done so many times throughout his career.

In an emotional embrace, the pair shared a hug and warm words before the newly crowned world number one would step to the lectern with the gold medal around his neck.

Women’s Pairs – Final

After winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal together in 2022, Ellen Fife and Kristina Krstic now have an Australian Open title as a pair after a display of dominance in the women’s pairs final at Broadbeach on Thursday.

The Jackaroos duo continued their fine form in the final against Tayla Bruce and Jessie Cottell, taking out a 17-9 win.

The best friend pairing stormed out of the blocks, collecting a four on the first end of the game to set the tone.

Cottell and Bruce fought back from the slow start, as Cottell saved three down to two up on the second end, consolidating with a one on the third before Fife and Krstic began to run away with it.

The pair dominated through the mid-stages of the contest, winning seven of eight ends to break away 15-5.

They would hold their nerve, finishing an end early to claim a memorable win.

The win breaks a streak of finals near misses for Krstic, claiming a maiden Australian Open title after six finals losses.

It is a fourth title for Fife, and second pairs title after winning with Julie Keegan in 2017.

Under-18 Boys’ Singles – Final

In one of the most remarkable contests of the entire fortnight, Victoria’s Koby Cromie would stage a miraculous comeback to edge past Travis Moran 21-19 on green one.

The first five ends could not split the pair as they sat 4-4 thanks to some exemplary shotmaking.

From there, a holding pattern ensued with seven singles scored in the coming ends before Moran broke the dam wall to race to an 18-8 buffer and seemingly the trophy.

However, a twist was coming as Cromie netted a three on the 19th end to gain control of the length.

His leading bowls lifted to set him up in the coming exchanges, forging his way to 19-all in what had become a thrilling encounter.

Moran had chances to gain the upper hand once more but he couldn’t land the telling blow, allowing Cromie to pounce, and pounce he did.

The Victorian played an exquisite final end to seal one of the biggest comebacks of the 2024 tournament.

Under-18 Girls’ Singles – Final

It was a fortuitous day for Sunbury’s Akasha Fortune, who avenged her sectional round defeat at the hands of Anda Panchawat, recording a 21-17 win in the decider.

Fortune emerged to an 11-4 buffer after nine ends before her South Australian counterpart fought back to get within one shot.

The Victorian began to turn the screws however, conquering six of the next seven exchanges to lead 18-11 and put one hand on the trophy.

Panchawat was far from finished, claiming six shots from the next three ends to again trim the gap to one, causing the noise level to drop drastically and the tension to rise.

Fortune would favour the brave in the end, as the 17-year-old again raised her level to salute as the last one standing and claim a maiden Australian Open title.

Over-60s Men’s Pairs – Final

The over 60’s men’s pairs saw the New South Wales pairing of Terry Warder and Stephen Ashdown overcame a strong start by Dennis Williams and Bill Ahoy to take a 22-6 victory.

Both pairings were going bowl-for-bowl throughout the first five ends, with leads and skips trading blows as the match looked like it was going right to the wire.

With Williams and Ahoy leading 6-5 after seven ends, Warder’s leading skyrocketed, setting his skip up to perfection as they began to pile on the multiples.

After seven ends on the bounce, the lead extended to an unassailable 16 as the teams shook hands, with both Warder and Ashdown bursting into elation following a remarkable victory.

Over-60s Women’s Pairs – Final

An extra end was needed to decide the over-60 women’s pairs champions, with Sharon McReynolds and Sue Coultas digging deep to take out the victory.

The former runners-up looked to be at risk of collecting a second silver medal, trailing for the entirety of the 18 end battle against New Zealand’s Karina Cooper and Diane Strawbridge.

The NZ duo led by as much as seven shots after 11 ends, but five consecutive singles for the team from NSW helped them reel the deficit back to two with two ends to play.

The Kiwis would go on to lead by four with one end to play, when McReynolds and Coultas fought to collect a four and force an extra end.

Two shots on the extra end would give the 2022 runners up the title.

Multi-Disability Men’s Singles – Final

Damien Delgado is a two-time Australian Open champion after a dominant multi-disability men’s singles final win on Friday.

Delgado flew out of the blocks against former champion David Minns, leading 6-0 before Minns hit the scoreboard.

It would be one-way traffic from that point on, with Minns able to only cut the margin to four at its least, with Delgado dropping just six ends to win 21-12.