Waikato bowler stuns world champ


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There will be four new champions crowned at the Summerset National Singles and Pairs, after an enthralling third day of post-section play at Carlton Cornwall Bowls in Auckland.

The last of the defending champions has exited the tournament, with Shannon McIlroy (Stoke) sensationally losing in the semi-finals of the men’s singles.

McIlroy has been stunned 21-20 by Tony Fabling (Hillcrest) in a remarkable semi-final, with Fabling overturning a 15-1 deficit against the world champion.

The former A grade squash player won the race to 21 on the 26th end with his final bowl, when McIlroy was holding the shot.

“I’m just incredibly lucky,” Fabling said.

“Once I got down by a bloody fortune, I just tried to get a few points so I wasn’t embarrassing myself.”

He won the New Zealand Open singles champion in 2013, but Fabling says this is the highlight of his career.

“I know there’s a game to go but to beat Shannon is something else for me.”

Tony Fabling will face Taylor Horn (Mangere) in the title decider tomorrow afternoon (January 8) after the 21-year-old upset Chris Le Lievre (Musgrave Hill) 21-17 on the adjoining rink.

“It was only a dream at the start of the tournament and now it’s a reality,” Horn said.

Fabling was cheered on by fellow young guns Seamus Curtin, Caleb Hope and Sheldon Bagrie-Howley.

“We’re all good mates and get on really well and we all support each other at tournaments.”

The women’s singles final will also be a battle of the generations, with Selina Goddard (Carlton Cornwall), 24, to face the experienced Debbie White (Hinuera).

Goddard has outclassed Sarah Scott (Te Rangi) 21-10 in her semi-final, while White has overcome former Blackjack Kirsten Edwards (Stoke) 21-20 in another absorbing match.

“This is probably the biggest moment of my life,” White said.

“Kirsten is a quality, quality competitor and to be honest I didn’t fancy my chances today.

“I told them I’d be at work tomorrow. I guess I’ll have to give them a bell and say you better cover for me.”

Goddard is attempting to win a second national singles title in three years.

“There are not that many women that have won the singles twice so to join those who have would be amazing,” Goddard said.

Current Blackjack Val Smith and her playing partner Lisa Prideaux (Composite) will face Reen Stratford and Linda Ralph (Composite) in the final of the women’s pairs.

Smith and Prideaux outclassed Marion Hakaraia and Robyn Reihana (Te Atatu Peninsula) 22-3 in the first semi-final, before Stratford and Ralph overcame Amy McIlroy and Selina Goddard (Composite) 17-10.

The men’s pairs final will pit Karl Garrett and Colin Gawith (Composite) against Chris Lowe and Jordan King (Mangere).

Garrett and Gawith edged Ray Martin and Richard Corry (Victoria) 17-13 in their semi-final, while Lowe and King have run away with a 22-5 win over Dean Elgar and Gerry O’Sullivan (Composite).

The Summerset National Singles and Pairs will culminate tomorrow (January 8), with the men’s and women’s pairs finals from 9am, followed by the women’s singles decider and then the men’s singles final.