The two remaining Kiwi hopes fell one step short of the final hurdle in Warilla, with Blackjack skipper Ali Forsyth feeling the brute force of Jeremy Henry and reigning champion Jo Edwards missing out on the final bowl in a sudden death tie-break.
The Warilla rink at the World Cup Indoor Singles was not short of action on Tuesday, with Warilla’s own “King Henry”, advancing to yet another final, just one fixture away from securing an unprecedented sixth crown.
On course for the same feat was Edwards, though a repeat of last year’s final in today’s semi-final saw Guernsey’s Lucy Beere get redemption on her rival, turning the tables in her favour to advance to the final opposite Commonwealth Games debutante Rebecca Van Asch, of Australia - who has yet to be beaten this week.
Racing out of the blocks early in set one, Edwards was in fine touch, outplaying Beere at almost every junction. A determined Beere came out firing in the second set, moving her way to a comfortable 10-5 win, forcing a three-end tie-break thriller.
With the crowd on the edge of their seat and Facebook Live followers with their eyes fixed to the screen, both Edwards and Beere took things down to the wire, finishing 2-2 after the scheduled three ends.
A sudden-death, winner takes all end ensued with Edwards seemingly in the box seat after driving the jack out of bounds and lying match with her ditch bowl. Beere, not to be outdone, drew within inches of the jack on a full length, and could barely watch as Edwards’ final drive attempt sailed wide of the target and halted any hopes of a sixth triumph at Warilla.
Meanwhile, Forsyth was forced to settle for a successive third place finish, as the king of the carpet put on a masterclass exhibition in front of his home crowd. Seemingly with no answers, Forsyth threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Australian contender, though a composed Henry romped to a straight sets victory 10-4, 7-2, leaving the Kiwi wondering what might have been.
Henry’s opponent will now be either fellow Australian David Ferguson or fellow Warilla clubmate Brendan Aquilina of Malta - both going toe-to-toe for a place in the coveted finale in Wednesday’s semi-final.
If Ferguson is to prevail, many will relish seeing a rematch of the Australian Indoor Championships final, where on that occasion Ferguson proved victorious and earnt the right to represent the green and gold at this year’s event - while Henry gained automatic entry as the defending champion.
Semi-finals at a glance:
Lucy Beere (Guernsey) bt Jo Edwards (New Zealand); 5-8, 10-5, 3-2 (tie-break, extra end)
Rebecca Van Asch (Australia) bt Kay Moran (Scotland); 10-4, 7-7
Jeremy Henry (Australia) bt Ali Forsyth (New Zealand); 10-4, 7-2