Local hero conquers the world
Australia’s Jeremy Henry won the men’s 2013 World Cup at Warilla Bowling Club after a thrilling encounter with New Zealander Tony Grantham in yesterday’s final, as Mike Gandon reports for the Illawarra Mercury.
An ecstatic Henry, who is the bowls co-ordinator at Warilla BC and originally from Northern Ireland, was completely chuffed to record back-to-back World Cups on his home club’s indoor greens.
In an engrossing final which had the capacity crowd enthralled throughout, Henry took the first set 10-5. Grantham hit back 8-5 in the second before Henry won the tie-break 5-0 after leading 1-0 on the first end then scored three shots in the second, which proved decisive, and one on the third and deciding end.
“Both of us were playing well – it was just ding-dong,” Henry said.
“I was lucky enough to play that one bowl in the tie-break. If I’d missed that and gone 1-all into the last end it would have been so nerve-racking. Lucky for me Tony missed with his last and put me four up; you shouldn’t be losing a four at this level.
“It feels fantastic to win two in a row, especially here in front of my own crowd, my own club, me working here, fantastic.”
Through the tournament Henry was undefeated in 13 matches.
Grantham made Henry fight tooth and nail for victory and the Kiwi dedicated the final to Australian Mark Casey whose father died suddenly during the tournament.
“Mark was on my side of the draw and I really feel for him,” Grantham said.
The women’s final was every bit as absorbing as the men’s with New Zealand’s Jo Edwards edging out Guernsey’s defending titleholder Alison Merrien 3-8 8-3 and 3-2 in the tie-break.
This was Edwards’ fifth consecutive World Cup final at Warilla. She had won three years in a row before Merrien took it out last year, but Edwards is now back as champion.
“I feel really at home coming to Warilla. The supporters here are unbelievable,” Edwards said.
“They make you feel like a fellow Australian but I’m certainly a New Zealander, a good Kiwi.
“It’s been a helluva run for me. It’s the only time I play indoors. I love the greens here, I love the club and just feel relaxed, so I think that shows out on the green.”
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Henry reached the men’s final by winning his semi-final against Malta’s Leonard Callus on Tuesday 4-10 12-1 (5-0 tie-break).
Grantham and Scotland’s Graeme Archer faced off in their semi-final yesterday morning with the Kiwi prevailing 7-5 6-7 (3-2 tie-break) in a top-class encounter.
Merrien advanced to the women’s final with a 8-8 8-3 win over Canadian Kelly McKerihen in the semi-final on Tuesday.
Later that day Edwards defeated Australia’s Karen Murphy 9-7 9-7 in the second semi-final.