Cabramatta’s Ellen Ryan secured a unique slice of history over the weekend, becoming the first person to hold both world under-25 singles titles simultaneously.
The youngest member of the Australian Jackaroos team added the sport’s World Under-25 Indoor trophy to her already-secured World Under-25 Outdoor title.
Ryan, 19, defeated senior English international Martin Puckett in a tie-break shootout of the World Bowls Tour’s World Under-25 Matchplay singles event at Potters, England on Sunday morning local time, to become the first person to hold both indoor and outdoor titles concurrently.
The former Goulburn product has quickly amassed a scintillating resume over the past few years, having secured World Bowls’ World Junior Championships singles and mixed pairs titles last November on the Gold Coast, in addition to a gold and silver medal from the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa, and the sport’s most illustrious national title, the 2015 Australian Open women’s singles crown.
Ryan, who was the only female competitor in the event, had the early ascendancy in the final decider, winning the first set 10-7 but narrowly missed winning in straight sets late in the second.
With the score locked 6-all after 9 ends in the second set, and Puckett holding one shot, Ryan’s final effort of the end saw her take out one of her own bowls, resulting in Puckett collecting a three-count, to lead 9-6 going into the final end.
And while Ryan took one shot on the final end, Puckett claimed the set 9-7, as the contest went into a three-end tie-break.
Puckett drew first blood on the opening end as the final reached its climax, but he was pegged back in the second after his final bowl failed to make contact with the jack when he elected to drive.
That set up a dramatic one-end shootout to decide the title, in which Ryan held her nerve to seal the crown and etch her name in the history books.
“It was a great match and I had to play some difficult shots but I just loved it out there,” an elated Ryan said shortly after prevailing.
“Not sure how I am going to get the trophy home because it weighs so much but I am just over the moon to have won the event and title.”
Ryan was encouraged throughout the tournament by dual World Bowls Championships singles winner Karen Murphy, whom she regards as a mentor, and who reached the quarter-finals of the senior Women’s Matchplay event last week.
Ryan, who yesterday was re-named in the 16-player Australian Jackaroos Squad for 2017, is a grateful recipient of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SAHOF) scholarship program, which seeks to excite the next generation of Australians to achieve their potential in both sport and life.
In addition to direct funding support from SAHOF, Ryan’s title win was made possible by SAHOF’s major sponsor, Etihad Airways, who graciously donated the airfare so Ryan could travel to England.
Bowls Australia would like to thank Sport Australia Hall of Fame and Etihad Airways for their support of Ellen Ryan.
Caption: Australia’s Ellen Ryan shows off the World Under 25 matchplay singles trophy. Photo: David Rhys Jones.