Stokes Valley teenager Seamus Curtin once again lived up to his billing as pre-tournament favourite, rounding out an unbeaten run to take out the coveted Burnside Under-26 Singles in Christchurch.
Held over three days, 32 of the country’s finest emerging talents descended on the Garden City to stake their claim as a dominant force in the youth ranks and impress national selectors in attendance.
And if the final was anything to go by, both the selectors and the crowd were treated to a masterclass exhibition, as two of the tournaments unbeaten prospects met head on for a winner takes all showdown.
Following seven rounds of section play and the quarter-finals, only Curtin, North East Valley’s Keanu Darby and two Gore identities Sheldon Bagrie-Howley and Caleb Hope remained in contention, with Bagrie-Howley out to chase his second win at this event.
The semi-final action saw Hope get away to a strong start opposite Curtin, though the composed Wellingtonian demonstrated his class to close the gap and advance to the final, 21-17. Meanwhile, Bagrie-Howley continued his devastating form, accounting for Darby 21-7 and setting up a mouth watering spectacle alongside Curtin – a good friend and key member of his national fours side that finished runner-up last year.
In what eventuated to be a memorable final between two top competitors, Curtin edged home this year’s champion with some telling drives and deft draws proving the difference, closing out a 21-17 margin to claim the full set of youth titles – adding to his previous U18 and U21 accolades and pocketing the $1000 winner’s cheque in the process.
Recently announced as part of the Blackjack’s flagship BPL side alongside Ali Forsyth and Jo Edwards, Curtin continues to make tsunami-like waves on the circuit, also set to make his debut at the prestigious North East Valley 10,000 later this month, where his talents will be tested against some of the world’s best singles exponents.
Beaten quarter-finalists included Elmwood’s Mat Bassett, Victoria’s Bradley Down, Bowls Hasting’s Dean Drummond and Stokes Valley new recruit Finbar McGuigan.
In other results, Taylor Horn defeated Daryl Read, 21-13 to take out Division Two, Aiden Takarua edged past Nicole Toomey, 21-16, while South Canterbury representative Tom Taiaroa advanced by a four shot margin in Division 4, defeating Clayton Hockley, 21-17 to round out this year’s action at Burnside.
For those wanting to relive the final’s action, live streaming links can be found on the Burnside Bowling Club Facebook page.
Results at a Glance
Burnside Under 26s Singles, Christchurch
Winner: Seamus Curtin (Stokes Valley)
Runner-up: Sheldon Bagrie-Howley (Gore)
Winner: Taylor Horn (Glen Eden)
Runner-up: Daryl Read (Belmont Park)
Winner: Aiden Takarua (Pt Chevalier)
Runner-up: Nicole Toomey (Victoria)
Winner: Tom Taiaroa (Kaikorai)
Runner-up: Clayton Hockley (Mangere)