Karen Murphy has etched her name into the history books as the first Australian to claim back-to-back blue-ribbon singles crowns at the World Bowls Championships.
Murphy contributed to a golden day for the Jackaroos in Christchurch, replicating the early heroics of the men’s pairs partnership of Brett Wilkie and Aaron Wilson, who upstaged Ireland 18-7, with a stunning singles victory against Scotland’s Lesley Doig, 21-13.
The historic result was Australia’s first successive singles world title in either gender, and just the third women’s singles win in the history of the competition; Murphy in 2016 and 2012 and Merle Richardson in 1985.
In a stunning conclusion to the ultimate decider, Murphy, who held favour 17-13 on the scoreboard and was 1 shot up in the head, delivered a bomb with a final delivery to trail the jack to bring her furthest bowls into play and collect a full count of 4 shots, the precise amount required for victory.
“I knew I had to give it a chance, as soon as I let it go I knew my line was good and I knew I was up; sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t,” Murphy said modestly after triumphing.
“I was really happy with how I played, that was probably the best performance out of the last half a dozen games that I’ve played, including the semis.
“I knew I had to get my first bowl there against Lesley, she was only ever four or so shots behind me so I couldn’t afford to slack off.”
Murphy is just the third women from any country to prevail in consecutive years, following in the footsteps of New Zealand’s Elsie Wilkie, who triumphed in 1973 and 1977, and Ireland’s Margaret Johnston, who prevailed in 2000 and 2004.
The Australian Jackaroos concluded the first half of the 34-nation tournament with three gold and one silver from the initial four disciplines, following their women’s fours win and runner-up men’s triples performance yesterday.
The contingent will attempt to earn a further two gold and one silver to equal their record-breaking haul from 2012 over the next week.
“I’m really proud of our troops this week, to make four semis to start with was fantastic, but to win three out of four is pretty impressive,” Murphy said.
All nations will enjoy a reprieve tomorrow, with the alternate disciplines, the men’s singles and fours and the women’s pairs and triples, commencing sectional rounds on Tuesday.
Bowls Australia congratulate Karen Murphy, Brett Wilkie and Aaron Wilson on their world title victories today.
Today’s finals results:
Men’s pairs final: Australia (Brett Wilkie, Aaron Wilson) def Ireland (Gary Kelly, Ian McClure) 18-7
Women’s singles final: Australia (Karen Murphy) def Scotland (Lesley Doig) 21-13
Yesterday’s final results:
Women’s fours final: Australia (Kelsey Cottrell, Carla Krizanic, Rebecca Van Asch, Natasha Scott) def England (Jamie-Lee Winch, Rebecca Wigfield, Wendy King, Ellen Faulkner) 23-8
Men’s triples final: Australia (Barrie Lester, Mark Casey, Aron Sherriff) lost to England (Jamie Walker, Andy Knapper, Robert Paxton) 14-15
Next week’s first sectional round fixture:
Men’s singles (section 1): Australia (Aron Sherriff) vs Spain (Peter Bonsor) – Fendalton
Men’s fours (section 2): Australia (Barrie Lester, Brett Wilkie, Aaron Wilson, Mark Casey) vs Zimbabwe (Terry Bowes, Mike Eaton, Tom Craven, Denis Streak) – Canterbury
Women’s pairs (section 1): Australia (Kelsey Cottrell, Karen Murphy) vs Singapore (Josephine Lim, Jane Low) – Burnside
Women’s triples (section 2): Australia (Carla Krizanic, Natasha Scott, Rebecca Van Asch) vs Isle of Man (Anne Patterson, Pamela Makin, Winifred Kenley) – Fendalton