New Zealand Hopefuls to Feature in Australian Open Fours’ Final


Kiwi contenders Ling Qu, Leanne Poulson and Diane Strawbridge along with Queensland skip Marilyn Emerton have played their way through to the prestigious Australian Open Women’s Fours final, following an impressive semi-final victory opposite home favourites, spearheaded by beaten women’s singles semi-finalist Bolivia Millerick.

Held at the Club Helensvale greens on the Gold Coast, Emerton and Co were in commanding form as they booked a finals berth defeating Millerick, Canadian international Kelly McKerihen, Jamie-Lee Worsnop and Millerick’s sister Cassie, 15-9.

Emerton’s quartet, Poulson and Qu of Auckland and Strawbridge of Northland, will now face a stern challenge in the form of Norfolk Island international Carmen Anderson, who looked equally impressive as her side dispatched Queensland’s Ester Regan, 17-13 in the other semi-final match-up to set up what will be a stellar finale to the event.

Meanwhile, former New Zealand international Richard Girvan and his team featuring Blackjack Blake Signal, former U25 World Singles champion Daniel Salmon, of Wales, and Wellington teenager Seamus Curtin, have bowed out of the Men’s Fours, dropping their semi-final to the powerhouse unit of Australian jackaroos Aron Sherriff, Barrie Lester and their respective team mates Jason Christie and Josh Thornton.

In what proved to be a long day at the office for Curtin, the Stokes Valley star narrowly missed a last eight berth in the Under 18 Boys’ Singles, despite staging an heroic fight back in a winner takes all fixture opposite Victoria’s Cooper Wescombe.

Hosted on the Broadbeach greens under flood lights, Curtin continued his dominant form, starting section play with two wins from as many starts and setting up a blockbuster clash against Wescombe late into the evening.

Trailing 13-1, Curtin’s chances looked doomed early doors, though showing unrivalled tenacity, the New Zealand development representative demonstrated his class as he clawed back a mountainous deficit, losing 21-19 in a thrilling encounter, as his final bowl narrowly swept past the target.

Attention will now turn to this morning’s semi-final showdown opposite one of the world’s most consistent singles exponents in Canadian master blaster Ryan Bester, forever dangerous and hungry for an Australian Open title on his home greens at Broadbeach.

However, Curtin will be looking to etch his own name on the trophy, and will be hoping to emulate his recent form in the open tournament on what will undoubtedly unfold as the biggest match-up of his short career with the world’s spotlight shining firmly on his chances.

The other semi-final will be a battle of the states as Queensland representative Sean Baker goes toe-to-toe with Alstonville’s Peter Taylor, with all four players eagerly hunting down the coveted silverware and a winners cheque of $10,000.

In other action, former New Zealand great Rowan Brassey will line-up with New South Wales’ legend Sam Laguzza in the Over 60’s Men’s Pairs, as they look to capture the honours in a sought after category.

All finals will be broadcast live on Australia’s SBS TV and Fox Sports, with some select finals scheduled for live streaming on Rinkside Live on Bowls Australia’s Facebook page.

*Curtin’s semi-final is scheduled to commence at 1.45pm (NZT), while Emerton, Strawbridge, Poulson and Qu will take to the Broadbeach rink at 6pm.