Bruce holds nerve to win tense final

New Zealand bowler Tayla Bruce found two ends of magic to claim the women’s singles title at the world championships on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

The Christchurch bowler came from behind to beat formidable Canadian contender Kelly McKerihen 21-18.

Bruce (27) became the third New Zealander to win the world championship women’s singles, following the incomparable Elsie Wilkie, a two-time champion, and Val Smith.

She adds the world championship singles title to her world champion of champions crown she won last year, just the second person to claim both honours after Australian Karen Murphy.

"It is so hard to get to this point," Bruce said.

"It is so difficult just to make the final and I really wanted to make the most of the opportunity. It is just unreal."

The final was a test of both skill and nerves as Tayla and Kelly were locked in a race to 21 shots over 24 intense ends.

Bruce faced a moment of pressure as she found herself three points down on end seven. However, with composure and precision, she drew the shot with her last bowl, maintaining the pattern of single-point scores.

McKerihen, determined not to be outdone, scored on three consecutive ends, securing a crucial three shots on end 12 and taking an early four-shot lead.

Bruce held two shots on end 15, which could have levelled the score for the fifth time, but the Canadian drew with confidence, scoring one point and maintaining a three-shot lead.

On the 16th, Bruce responded with a precision draw shot of her own, securing a two and cutting the deficit to a single point.

Bruce executed an on-target weighted shot on the 18th that dislodged Kelly’s shot bowl, allowing her to hold two shots. She added a third with her last bowl, scoring a critical three points and taking the lead for the first time in eight ends.

The subsequent four ends witnessed both players trading blows with Bruce taking a 19-18 lead.

The Kiwi displayed nerves of steel, opening with a back toucher on the 24th end, following with a second and third shot.

The Canadian, in a last-ditch effort, attempted to dislodge Bruce’s bowls with weighted shots, but narrowly missed her target, allowing Bruce earn the two shots required to secure victory.

"Honestly, that last end, all I am doing is preparing for the worst," Bruce said.

"It is crazy when you have the game and you hold it. I managed to finally have confidence in my line.

"Once you have the confidence in your line then you just trust that the weight is going to come."

— Staff reporter