Inch doubles up securing singles and pairs silverware

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Blackjack Katelyn Inch dominated the 2020 Summerset National singles and pairs, taking both titles out at the Papanui green in a memorable day on the green.

Within a matter of hours, New Zealand representative Katelyn Inch went from winning her maiden national title to completing the double following a special victory opposite world number one Jo Edwards in the women’s singles final.

Following the elation of winning the women’s pairs with fellow Blackjack and good mate Selina Goddard, Inch had to refocus and bring her A-game if she was to overcome two-time winner and most capped New Zealand international in Edwards.

And that’s exactly what she did.

Trading shots equally throughout, the lead changed hands several times, but with the scores locked at 15-15, it was Inch who powered home with a great display of consistent draw bowling – leaving Edwards little room to escape and closing out the win, 21-15.

Reacting to the win, Inch, who hails from the small rural township of Oxford, said “it hasn’t sunk in at all yet, I can’t believe it”.

“I don’t know what it was, but I felt really calm the whole game. I knew I was the underdog going in to it and Jo is obviously so talented, so I put my head down and tried to draw a few shots.

“I still can’t believe it, I’m shocked. There will be a party in Oxford . . . we all love a good party.”

Blackjack Andrew Kelly considers his shot selection at Papanui.

Meanwhile, Blackjack Andrew Kelly, who had earlier in the day suffered the disappointment of losing the men’s pairs final with teammate Richard Hocking, returned to top form to take out the men’s singles final.

Kelly, a two-time national fours champion and runner-up in the 2018 singles in Dunedin, was in irrepressible form, first dispatching two-time singles champion Dean Elgar in a comprehensive 21-5 draw bowls masterclass and then going on to temper the speed of play from Burnett, closing out a 21-7 margin.

Kelly’s consistency was the talking point of the final, first leading 10-3, extending the score to 10-7 and then scoring a four, two, three and a two to go out and be crowned the best in the country.

The appearance in both finals on the Papanui greens saw Kelly convincingly named the most consistent men’s participant throughout the week, while for Inch, who could do no more than win both events, deservedly awarded the same accolade for the women.

Speaking after the win, Kelly remarked on what had been “one heck of a week”.

“To cap it off with a win in the singles, I’m chuffed,” Kelly said.

“Peter Belliss talks a lot about winning those key moments in games and getting on top of those moments, and that can make the difference.”

Asked on his chances of being named in the New Zealand side to contest February’s Trans-Tasman and potentially World Bowls 2020 later in the year, Kelly was confident he had done enough.

“I suppose I could have won the pairs too, but I think I’ve given myself every opportunity and hopefully get a call tomorrow . . . we’ll see what happens.”

And if Kelly is to get that call, he may have his hands full when it comes to juggling his schedule, as Kelly and partner are due to have their first child later this month.

“(Of course) they (babies) don’t always stick to the schedule, so we’ll play that one by ear, I think” Kelly laughed.

Kelly and Inch will now go on to represent New Zealand at the World Champion of Champion Singles in Adelaide later this year.

The New Zealand team is expected to be announced later this week.

Results at a Glance
2020 Summerset National Singles & Pairs, Christchurch

Men’s Singles
Andrew Kelly (Canterbury 2017) d Ryan Burnett (Broadbeach, AUS); 21-7

Women’s Singles
Katelyn Inch (Broadbeach, AUS) d Jo Edwards (United); 21-15

Men’s Pairs
Raymond Martin, Robbie Bennett (composite) d Andrew Kelly, Richard Hocking (composite); 17-8

Women’s Pairs
Katelyn Inch, Selina Goddard (composite) d Clare Hendra, Tayla Bruce (composite); 19-13

by Sam Morton & Brenton Vannisselroy