2024 Australian Open: Day 13 recap

by Bowls Australia on June 20, 2024

Final bowl thrillers, upset victories and bowls of the highest order filled the penultimate day of Australian Open action on the Gold Coast.

Women’s Singles – Final

For just the second time in Australian Open history, a Western Australian won the Australian Open women’s singles crown, with Laura Butler saluting in a final to remember.

Butler went head-to-head with Club Helensvale’s Kelsey Cottrell in a rematch of their 2023 singles semi final, with Butler flipping the script on that result.

The Manning, WA star jumped out of the blocks to settle her nerves against the newly crowned world number one, leading 4-0 after two ends.

Cottrell settled into the contest with five consecutive singles to take the lead.

Shots went back and forth during the middle stages of the game, but six shots on the run took Cottrell to a 19-16 lead.

Butler held her nerve and fought back with an immediate three to level scores at 19-19.

Butler would go on to collect the winning shots on the next end to hand Cottrell a second consecutive singles final loss, and collect her second Australian Open title after winning last year’s fours.

The victory was made even more special for Butler, playing the final while pregnant.

Men’s Pairs – Final

In a discipline that is proving to produce the most exciting finale in recent years, the 2024 edition of the competition was no different as 19-year-old New South Welshman Joseph Clarke and Jack McShane clinched an epic extra end victory over Flynn O’Shaughnessy and Nathan Rice.

After falling behind 0-6, the young stars rallied to gain a four on the fifth end to give themselves a foothold in the contest.

Rice and O’Shaughnessy managed to hold their lead until the 15th end, where McShane and Clarke would net a four to gain the ascendancy for the first time in the match.

They would maintain a buffer right until the last end to lead by three, where Rice put forth one of the all-time great final exchanges as he drew a trio of brilliant shots to send the match to an extra end.

The toss would see the Helensvale products with the mat before O’Shaughnessy rolled the jack into the ditch to hand the length to their opponents.

Rice managed to gain the upper hand once again, holding one with McShane heading down for his final bowl.

Holding one on the tee, the young Merrylands product landed a sensational delivery that skimmed Rice’s bowl and the jack out of bounds before it was re-spotted to seal one of the most remarkable wins and end one of the great narratives.

Men’s Singles – SF

Aron Sherriff will be eyeing off a historic sixth Australian Open singles crown on Friday, after a dominant semi final win on Thursday.

Sherriff was clinical in his 21-12 semi final win over Corey Wedlock, as he looks for a third consecutive singles title.

He will meet Cohen Litfin who impressed in a hard-fought 21-16 win over the in-form Carl Healey. Litfin is no stranger to the big stage, having played in the 2021 pairs final.

They will meet in the final match of the event tomorrow afternoon.

Women’s Pairs – SF

Two big semi final wins see the women’s pairs final locked in for Friday morning.

Tayla Bruce and Jessie Cottell will take on Ellen Fife and Kristina Krstic after strong semi final performances.

Krstic beat Chloe Stewart and Katelyn Inch 21-14, with an end to spare, as did Cottell over Olivia Cartwright and Laura Butler (17-9).

It will be a highly-anticipated clash, with Bruce the reigning world singles champion, and Krstic/Fife 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallists.

Men’s Fours – Final

There was not much separating the two teams in a blockbuster men’s fours final at Broadbeach on Thursday evening.

Delayed due to clashes with the men’s pairs final, the teams took to green one at Broadbeach under lights.

Jack McShane and Joseph Clarke looked to add a second title to their resume on the same day after earlier pairs success, teaming up with Sean Baker and Ben Twist.

Taking on Ray Pearse, Peter Taylor, Gary Kelly and Carl Healey, Twist’s team trailed for much of the contest, but managed to keep scores level or trail by just one or two shots often to keep touch.

A key two on the 12th end put Twist’s team ahead by one shot, leaving a thrilling finish to the night.

The sides were tied after 13 ends at 8-8, with Healey’s side collecting a one on end 14 to lead by one going into the deciding end.

The title came down to the final two bowls, with Healey drawing to the jack on the tee, and Twist just unable to take back shot, drawing just wide, to give Pearse, Taylor, Kelly and Healey a 10-8 win. It was Peter Taylor’s first Australian Open title, while adding to the already decorated CVs of the others.

Women’s Fours – Final

The women’s fours saw the quartet of Louise Cronan, Leanne Chinery, Emma Boyd and Kelly McKerihen claim their maiden Australian Open titles after a 15-8 victory against a gallant Kira Bourke, Emma Simmons, Cassandra Millerick and Kylie Whitehead.

McKerihen’s peach draped squad started the match in brilliant fashion, racing to a 5-0 buffer after three ends before their opponents got on the board.

It remained in a holding pattern until the ninth end of the contest with the Canadian’s team holding a slender 7-5 lead.

Whitehead’s last bowl had been released to show her team having the five closest bowls, leaving McKerihen with it all to do with her last, and she provided a piece of brilliance to cut the count back to one and maintain the lead.

A two and a three followed as the quartet gained an unassailable lead, racing away to a seven-shot victory with all four landing their first ever gold medal at the tournament.

Multi-Disability Women’s Singles – Final

It was redemption for Serena Bonnell as she rectified her loss in the 2023 decider by defeating her state and Australian teammate Louise Hoskins 21-13 in a dominant display.

Bonnell raced out to a 9-3 buffer after eight ends before her opponent settled beautifully to level the contest thanks to an inspired change in length.

The Club Tweed product would gain the upper hand following some supreme conversions to move ahead yet again.

At 12-9, the 42-year-old netted a full count of four to put her foot down and race away to a 17-9 buffer leading into the 16th end.

With some scintillating shooting, Bonnell managed to hold game before Hoskins cut the count to keep the contest going, and would win the next two ends to bring the gap back to seven.

However, a front hopper for the Para Jackaroo would remain as the shot on the 19th exchange to secure her maiden title at the Australian Open in her third final across all disciplines.

Multi-Disability Open Pairs – Final

Chris Flavel and James Reynolds were comprehensive in their multi-disability pairs victory over Tony Bonnell and Josh Barry.

The duo dropped just four of 15 ends on their way to a 19-4 victory, a third AO title for Reynolds and maiden crown for Flavel.

Vision-Impaired Pairs – Final

Helen Boardman and Jake Fehlberg‘s domination of the Australian Open vision-impaired pairs event continued, winning a third straight title on Thursday.

The pair, directed by Peter Doherty and Cody Fehlberg respectively, trailed early against Jacky Hudson and Fred McConnell, conceding the first five shots of the game before hitting the scoreboard.

They trailed 6-1, before going on a 16-4 run to claim a third straight title.

Vision-Impaired Singles – Final

Jake Fehlberg continues to add to his Australian Open tally, with a singles victory taking him to nine AO championships.

The Jackaroo and world champion fought off a strong starting Calvin Rodgers, who led 9-1, before fighting back to 17-17.

From there Fehlberg edged his way to a 21-19 win, continuing to etch his name in Australian Open folklore.

Over-60s Men’s Pairs – R16, QF & SF

Terry Warder and Stephen Ashdown will meet Dennis Williams and Bill Ahoy in tomorrow’s over-60 men’s pairs final after three wins on Thursday to book a spot in the decider.

Both sides enjoyed strong wins throughout the day, with Ahoy holding on to win by two shots in their semi final.

Over-60s Women’s Pairs – QF & SF

2022 over-60 women’s pairs runners up Sharon McReynolds and Sue Coultas will have a chance to go one step further after qualifying for tomorrow’s final.

They recorded two seven shot wins to book a spot in tomorrow’s decider, where they will face New Zealand’s Karina Cooper and Diana Strawbridge.

Under-18 Boys’ Singles – R16, QF & SF

Warilla’s Travis Moran will meet Essendon’s Koby Cromie in the under-18 boys final after Thursday’s knockout rounds.

Moran had three good wins, conceding a maximum of 14 shots en route to the final.

Tasmania’s Oliver Morrison beat 2023 champion Riley Gerick in his quarter final, but fell short against an impressive Cromie in the semi final.

Under-18 Girls’ Singles – QF & SF

Sunbury’s Akasha Fortune will meet Brighton’s Anda Panchawat in the under-18 girls final, after both enjoyed wins in quarter and semi finals on Thursday.

Fortune took down 2023 champion Reese Finn-Young in her quarter final en route to tomorrow’s decider. Panchawat had two good wins, as she looks for a maiden Australian Open crown.

Multi-Disability Men’s Singles – SF

There will be no 2022 multi-disability men’s singles final rematch after Damien Delgado edged out former finalist Frank Krslovic in their semi final 21-10.

He will meet 2022 champion David Minns who beat Graeme Smith to reach another final.

The 2024 Australian Open will run from the June 8-21, 2024 on the Gold Coast in Queensland with Rinkside Live coverage from 9am AEST daily on Bowls Australia’s YouTube channel.