Stokes Valley teenager Seamus Curtin has announced his talents on the world stage in fine style, winning his way through to a semi-final berth in the Australian Open Men’s Singles and making the quarter-finals of the Men’s Fours.
In a run of scintillating form, the young New Zealander played beyond his years to turn heads on the Gold Coast as one to watch heading into the business end of the competition, though with household names like Ryan Bester, Sean Baker and Peter Taylor still in the mix, Curtin will be in amongst some top quality company.
Hosted at Club Helensvale, more than 800 competitors started proceedings, with some blockbuster clashes forcing some high profile favourites out of the running early doors, with the likes of six-time Commonwealth Games medallist Alex Marshall, rising Australian stars Aaron Teys and Ben Twist and reigning Commonwealth Men’s champion Aaron Wilson, among others all falling victim to their respective opponents along the path.
Having negotiated his way through five fierce post-section matches, Curtin looked to finally come unstuck against former World Champion of Champion Singles winner Scott Thulborn, who for the most part applied regular pressure and executed some telling aggressive play, seemingly in control of the fixture.
However, appearing comfortable and at home on the Helensvale greens, Curtin continued to show nerves of steel as he closed out the match 21-20, drawing his final bowl to pick up a count of three and advance to this year’s semi-final opposite world class exponent Ryan Bester, who appeared impressive against Queensland’s Eric Johannes in their last eight clash.
On his road to the quarters, Curtin defeated Southport’s David Balchin, Mermaid Beach representative Alex Hyde, Jackaroo Ben Twist, South Tweed hopeful Gary Pearson and Forster’s Matthew Sargeant, 21-17 in the last 16.
In the women’s action, former New Zealand development representative Sarah Scott proved in commanding form, qualifying through to the last 32, before double world champion Natasha Scott put paid to her title hopes in a thrilling fixture to leave the Dunedin bowler wondering what might have been, 21-14.
Qualifiers in the women’s singles included Debbie White, Wendy Mackie, Leanne Poulson, Christine Buchanan, Reen Stratford and Gold Coast based Blackjack Katelyn Inch – though Scott proving the best performed beating Norfolk Island representative Carmen Anderson before exiting in the last 32 to Scott.
Other Kiwis to qualify in the men’s singles included recently retired Blackjack Paul Girdler, Peter Hodson, Blake Signal, Paul King, Lindsay Thomas, Roger Stevens, Alister Watson, Brendon Kelly, Robbie Bird, and Pt Chevalier’s Steve Hoeft, though Curtin has remained in strong touch to stay alive in what is arguably the world’s most lucrative bowls event – and will be looking to continue his irrepressible form in the men’s pairs as he lines up with Blackjack Blake Signal on Monday morning.
Curtin will also line-up with Signal and Nelson Bay clubmates Daniel Salmon and former Blackjack Richard Girvan to push for a semi-final place in the Men’s Fours.
The Australian Open action will continue this week with the Men’s and Women’s Pairs knockout play to be held, along with the last eight clashes in the Men’s and Women’s Fours, before Curtin takes to the big stage once again in search for what will undoubtedly be the biggest win of his career if he dispatches Bester on his home green at Broadbeach.