New Zealand Blackjacks Shannon McIlroy and Jo Edwards have firmly stamped their mark as two of the world’s best singles exponents, controlling their final match-ups in Sydney to take out the 2018 World Champion of Champion Singles titles in irrepressible fashion.
In blistering heat, both McIlroy and Edwards proved in sublime touch as they stormed their way to the silverware following strong showings on the St Johns Park bowling green, winning their respective men’s and women’s finals in midst of a bumper crowd rink side.
First up, Edwards, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, once again demonstrated her tenacious grit, clawing her way back into the first set after a promising start out of the blocks from Malaysia’s Alyani Jamil – though Edwards, as she so often does, finding enough to draw first blood and place one hand on the trophy.
A commanding performance in the second set saw the Kiwi stride out to a comfortable lead, a lead Edwards failed to relinquish as she coasted to a straight-sets win to take out Gold. The win marked Edwards’ second World Champion of Champion Singles’ crown, adding to her victory in Hong Kong in 2011.
Hours later, McIlroy, the reigning World Outdoor Singles champion, added to his bulging resume and started New Zealand’s party, powering through straight sets opposite the courageous efforts of Hong Kong China’s Tony Cheung.
In a remarkable week, McIlroy, who opted out of this same event in 2016 in the lead-up to his preparation for World Bowls, was in scintillating form as he tallied up 14 wins from as many starts, losing only one set to Turkey’s Ozkan Akar and settling for a drawn set opposite both Israel’s Noham Yehudai and Thailand’s Wattana Kadkhunthod respectively.
After seven action-packed days, the event concluded with the medal presentations with both McIlroy and Edwards standing proud as the New Zealand national anthem rang out around the St Johns Park complex.
Beaten semi-finalists included Australia’s Lee Schraner and Malaysian Ejoy Redzuan in the men’s singles, while Scotland’s Dee Hoggan and Singapore’s Tammy Than stood tall in the women’s field.
The 2019 World Champion of Champion Singles will next be held in Adelaide following two successful years at St Johns Park, Sydney, where more than 50 of the world’s best players will converge at their shot to be crowned the best of the best.
Final: Jo Edwards (NZL) bt Alyani Jamil (MAS) 10-7 10-3.
Edwards v Alyani
Edwards: – – 2 – – 4 2 2 – 10
Jamil: 3 – 1 – – – 1 – 1 6
McIlroy: 2 – 2 – 1 3 1 – 1 10
Redzuan: – 1 – 2 – – – 3 – 6
Final: Shannon McIlroy (NZL) bt Tony Cheung (HKC) 8-3 9-2.
McIlroy v Cheung
McIlroy: – 2 1 1 1 – 1 2 8
Cheung: 1 – – – – 2 – – 3
McIlroy: 1 1 2 – 1 – 3 1 9
Cheung: – – – 1 – 1 – – 2