New Zealand representative Debbie White has fallen agonisingly short of the world singles title at the World Champion of Champion Singles in Adelaide, going down to Australia’s Kylie Whitehead in a thrilling tie break finale.
Held at the Adelaide Bowling Club in South Australia on Sunday, White stormed out of the blocks in comfortable fashion to take the first set 11-7, the Hinuera Heat prospect appearing in control heading in to set two.
Leading 7-1 in the second set, White looked to be in irrepressible form – though a determined Whitehead wasn’t prepared to ponder what might have been.
Getting back in to the game with a moment of fortune, Whitehead edged her way back into the game following a wayward run shot from White which saw the Kiwi dislodge her closest bowl and drop three shots on the fifth end, putting Whitehead back in contention at 7-4.
With momentum seemingly starting to favour the Australian hopeful, Whitehead powered through to claim the second set and secure a tie-breaker finish opposite White, 9-8.
Claiming the first end, White then found herself with the opportunity to draw for the game – however with Whitehead standing at the other end with a bowl to come, White opted for a back bowl to sit with three shots and put herself in the box seat for the title.
Though, Whitehead, remaining calm at every hurdle, clearly had other ideas, drawing the shot with her final bowl and setting up a photo finish heading into the deciding end of the tournament.
The final end saw Whitehead commit to a weighted shot to sit White’s match-winning bowl, missing with her second, but nailing it with her third and leaving White with little option, but to play something similar.
With two attempts, White was unable to remove the bowl, Whitehead claiming the shot and taking out the 2019 World Champion of Champion Women’s Singles title, 2-1.
The loss marked White’s second defeat of the campaign, in what was a remarkable showing for the Kiwi, topping her section and bettering some of the world’s finest singles exponents along the way.
Congratulations Debbie, you did yourself and country proud.
*If you missed the action and want to relive White’s Grand Final appearance, go to the Bowls Australia Facebook page and catch their live-stream footage.
by Sam Morton