Bowls: Scott proves point with second title

Otago bowler Shaun Scott celebrates with the trophy after winning the singles final at the New Zealand bowls championships in New Plymouth yesterday. Photo by Crispin Anderlin.
Otago bowler Shaun Scott celebrates with the trophy after winning the singles final at the New Zealand bowls championships in New Plymouth yesterday. Photo by Crispin Anderlin.

Shaun Scott was left out of the Black Jacks team for World Bowls in Adelaide last year and had a point to prove in New Plymouth yesterday. Scott (47), a Cromwell contractor who represents the North East Valley club, convincingly won his second New Zealand singles title when he beat former New Zealand representative Dan Delany (Onehunga) 21-10 after just 17 ends.

''I'm pretty happy with that. It is a great feeling. It was a tricky wind and wasn't easy out there,'' Scott told the Otago Daily Times from the Paritutu Bowling Club.

Scott backed up his 2011 win in Dunedin and joined an elite band of bowlers who have won the singles title more than once.

He proved he deserved to be singles champion again by beating elite bowlers in the last three rounds.

He beat Petar Sain (Carlton-Cornwall), who won the title in 1991 and 2000 and was runner-up to Scott two years ago, 21-19 in the quarterfinal and Black Jack Shannon McIlroy 21-9 in the semifinal. McIlroy won the bronze medal in the singles at World Bowls.

What motivated Scott most was his desire to compete in the world finals of the champion of champions singles again. He had to win the New Zealand singles title to qualify.

His game plan was simple.

''I just wanted to find the best hand, the speed of the green and play as consistently as I could,'' Scott said. The fourth end was crucial when Scott killed the end when he was two down on the head. It would have given Delany a 5-1 advantage.

''I couldn't get in with the draw so I went for the jack,'' Scott said. On the replay he drove out Delany's shot bowl to reduce the gap to one point, 3-2.

Scott was on target with his three drives at this stage and it gave him a lot of confidence. He killed the end with one, got a shot bowl out with the second and took a bowl out with the third. It was the start of three ends when Scott scored four shots to lead 5-3. But it was still even after 10 ends when Scott led 8-7.

Scott scored the first of his two fours on the 11th end. It gave Scott a five-point cushion and the lead, 12-7. Delany missed with two drives.

''I changed my hand for the first time in the game and played the backhand into the wind,'' Scott said.

''I couldn't score with the forehand so I jumped on to the backhand and got the first one close and dominated from there.

''It gave me huge confidence and I stayed on that hand into the wind for the rest of the game and got them closer.''

It was a confident Scott who drew three shots on the head on the 12th end but Delany killed the end when he was finally on target with his drive.

Scott scored singles on the replay and on the 13th end to lead 14-7.

The game was drifting away from Delany but he fought back with a one and two on the next two ends to reduced the gap to four points, 14-10, after 15 ends.

The confident Scott ended the game by scoring a three and a four on the next two ends.

Scott's second four of the game came on a loose 17th end.

''It was a scary four. My four bowls were only within 1.5m. I was going into the wind and pulled the mat up for a medium length end. It wasn't a good end but I managed to scrape the four out of it and win the game.''

In the women's singles, Val McEldowney (New Plymouth) came back from a 17-9 deficit to beat Reen Stratford (Birkenhead) 21-17, winning six ends in a row.

Ali Forsyth (Havelock) completed his set at the national championships when he teamed with fellow Sydney-based Black Jack Matt Gallop to win the pairs title, beating the Johnsonville pair of Lee Barclay and Rob Ashton 15-9.

It was Forsyth's fifth title. He won the singles in 2003 and 2004 and the fours in 2011 and 2012.

Sandra Keith (Dunsandel), last year's singles champion, won her second national title when she and Serena Matthews beat sisters Mandy and Angela Boyd 15-13 in the women's pairs final. The Boyd sisters also finished runner-up last year.

NZ championships
Winners
Men's Singles: Shaun Scott (North East Valley).
Women's singles: Val McEldowney (New Plymouth).
Men's pairs: Ali Forsyth, Matt Gallop (Composite).
Women's pairs: Sandra Keith, Serena Matthews (Dunsandel).