2021 Australian Open – Day 13 wrap

by Lachlan Williams

History in the women’s singles, a final-bowl thriller in the men’s pairs and plenty of other classic finals made up the penultimate day of the 2021 Australian Open on Thursday.

Women’s Singles Final

Natasha Van Eldik became the first woman to win three Australian Open women’s singles titles as well as the first to go back-to-back after her final win over pairs teammate Jamie-Lee Worsnop on Thursday.

Van Eldik flew out of the blocks, jumping out to a 12-2 lead before Worsnop was able to wrestle some of the momentum back.

Worsnop chipped away at the lead, but Van Eldik’s was too far ahead, eventually going on to win 21-12.

“I’m over the moon and a little bit speechless to be honest,” Van Eldik said post-match.

“It’s great to be back on the Broadbeach greens and I’m super stoked to come away with a win.

“I lost my way with the long ends … but I knew had to hang in there and if I dropped a one so be it, get the mat back and go short which is my strength.”

Van Eldik pockets a cool $12,500 for the win, while Worsnop collects $5000 for her runner-up efforts.

Natasha Van Eldik v Jamie-Lee Worsnop 21-12

Men’s Pairs Final

It was a good old-fashioned shootout between the pairing of Matt Johnstone and Cody Packer against Gary Pearson and Cohen Litfin in the men’s pairs final, in a match that will be remembered for some time.

Both duos held nothing back, with the NSW and WA duo of Johnstone and Packer going on to win 22-20.

After a tight start to the match, Packer and Johnstone were the first to break way, scoring a full set of six mid-way through to break the game open.

Pearson and Litfin slowly chipped away at the lead, before claiming a massive five on the penultimate end to head into the final end with a one-shot lead.

The teams went shot for shot, with Packer eventually sitting one up with the final bowl in his hand.

With the jack on the tee, he was able to draw second shot and claim the match and the title, along with the $8000 prizemoney.

Matt Johnstone & Cody Packer def Gary Pearson & Cohen Litfin 22-20

Women’s Fours Final

Kelsey Cottrell’s fours juggernaut continued their Australian Open fours domination, claiming the 2021 title in a thrilling final.

Cottrell skipped Sam Ferguson, Anne Johns and Lynsey Clarke to a win over Jamie-Lee Worsnop, Brianna Smith, Ellen Ryan and Kristina Krstic in the fours final at Broadbeach on Thursday morning.

In a back-and-forth contest, Cottrell’s side was able to edge ahead to lead by four on the final end. Krstic had a long-shot look at levelling the game with her last bowl, but missed to fall short.

The title is Cottrell, Johns and Clarke’s third fours crown, with Ferguson picking up her first having subbed in for Rebecca Van Asch.

Team Cottrell def Team Krstic 12-9

Men’s Fours Final

The men’s fours final was a little more one-sided, with the David Ferguson’s team not skipping a beat to win the title.

Ray Pearse, Aaron Hewson, Ben Twist and Ferguson took down the three of the four from the 2019 men’s fours winning combination in Brad Lawson, John Green, Scott Dejongh and Jamie Anderson.

Ferguson’s side was clinical, en route to a comfortable 18-3 victory.

Team Ferguson def Team Anderson 18-3

Over-60s Women’s Pairs

Maree Gibbs & Sue Brady got the better of reigning over 60’s women’s pairs champions Jude Waites & Jane Bush to hold on to claim the 2021 crown.

Gibbs and Brady had to fight their way through an extra end in their semi-final, before taking out a last-bowl thriller in the final.

Up by one shot by with their opponents holding shot, Brady was able to take the jack away for the win and the $4000 prizemoney.

Maree Gibbs & Sue Brady def Jude Whaites and Jane Bush 17-15

Multi-Disability Finals

Josh Thornton claimed his first multi-disability men’s singles gold since 2015, coming from behind to defeat Damien Delgado 21-17 in his final.

Serena Bonnell was unable to double up with success, falling short to Kim Saunders in the multi-disability women’s final, while winning the open pairs alongside husband Tony Bonnell.

Men’s singles: Josh Thornton def Damien Delgado 21-17

Women’s singles: Kim Saunders def Serena Bonnell 21-17

Open pairs: Tony & Serena Bonnell def Bruce Wakefield & Graeme Skellern 15-9

Vision Impaired Singles Final

Despite sneaking his way through to the final on shot difference, Fred McConnell put his skills on display to claim the vision impaired open singles title on Thursday.

Cudgen Leagues’ McConnell proved too strong for Helensvale’s Tony Tully, winning 21-11.

McConnell collects $1000 to go with his title.

Vision Impaired Open Singles: Fred McConnell def Tony Tully 21-11

Men’s Singles semi-final

2018 Commonwealth Games singles gold medallist Aaron Wilson will return to the scene of his iconic victory in the 2021 Australian Open singles final on Friday after success in his semi-final on Thursday morning.

Wilson was able to overcome three-time AO single champion Aron Sherriff to set up a final berth against fellow Commonwealth Games gold medallist Wayne Turley.

Turley got the better of current BCiB Australian Jackaroo Barrie Lester in his semi-final on Thursday morning, winding back the clock to show he is still a force to be reckoned with.

Women’s Pairs semi-final

Ellen Ryan and Kristina Krstic will take on Lynsey Clarke and Kelsey Cottrell in tomorrow’s women’s pairs final after Thursday’s semi-finals.

Ryan and Krstic proved too good for Ester Regan and Carmen Anderson, winning 29-13.

The duo were part of the runner-up fours combination that played this morning.

Cottrell and Clarke edged out singles finalists Van Eldik and Worsnop by one shot to advance to the final.

The men’s singles final and women’s pairs final will be broadcast live on 7Two, Fox Sports, Kayo and Sky Sport NZ on Friday.

Under 18 Singles

Chloe Runge and Kate Argent-Bowden will meet in the under-18 girls final, having won through their semis by seven and two shots respectively on Thursday.

The boys semi finals were event closer, with Joseph Clarke and Bailey Meti getting across the line and into the final by one and two shots respectively.

The 2021 Australian Open comes to a crescendo tomorrow, with five finals. All matches are able to be viewed live.

2021 Australian Open – Day 14 schedule

EventTimeViewing options
Over 60s Men’s Pairs Final8amBowls Australia Facebook page
U18 Boys’ Singles Final11amBowls Australia Facebook page
Women’s Pairs Final11.30am7Two, Fox Sports, Kayo, Sky Sport NZ
Men’s Singles Final~2pm7Two, Fox Sports, Kayo, Sky Sport NZ
U18 Girls’ Singles Final2pmBowls Australia Facebook page

The 2021 Australian Open will be staged across the Gold Coast from June 12-25, courtesy of support from Tourism and Events Queensland and City of Gold Coast.