Murphy and Wood set for title defence
Karen Murphy will endeavour to hunt down a seventh Australian Indoor Championships trophy when the $30,000 event commences at Tweed Heads Bowls Club on Monday (18/8), but contenders will be lining up from all angles to take a shot at the queen of the carpet. It’s fair to say the Cabramatta spearhead is deserving of her number one seed status, after six title wins in seven years, but in the 32-player knockout, sets-play competition, her seeding and prior results will count for little when the bowls hit the green at 8.00am Monday morning. Victoria’s Jenny Tirant faces the herculean task of trying to secure a first up victory against the triple defending champion – given even former winner Maria Rigby, who triumphed in 2005, was unable to stand in Murphy’s way just 12 months ago in the final decider. Also boasting sizeable claims to the coveted silverware are second seeded NSW representative Sarah Boddington, former Scottish International Kay Moran, and host club favourite Kristy Thatcher, given her intricate knowledge of the carpet and rising stocks among national and international ranks. A quartet of young guns also lurk ominously in the field in contention for a maiden title win, including NSW’s Jamie-Lee Worsnop and Ellen Ryan, Victoria’s Chloe Stewart and Queensland’s Natasha Jones. In the men’s draw, Victoria’s Tony Wood will attempt to follow in the footsteps of some of the sport’s greats, including Steve Glasson, Kelvin Kerkow and Ian Schuback, by recording consecutive victories. Wood became just the 15th men’s winner in the event’s 26 year history when he was crowned last year, but will have a target planted firmly on his back when steps onto the carpet next week. Dangers lurk in every corner of the 32-player field, including 2010 winner and Australian Jackaroos Vice-captain Brett Wilkie, 20 year-old Australian Open men’s singles titleholder Nathan Wilson, former English international David Holt and New Zealand Blackjacks master-blaster Ali Forsyth. Regardless which male and female are crowned the 2014 Australian Indoor Championships champions on Thursday, it’s certain that they would have played five near-flawless encounters against one of the strongest fields the competition has seen in years to each earn a $6,000 winner’s cheque, direct entry defend their titles next year and a spot in the 2015 World Cup in Warilla. The 2014 Australian Indoor Championships will run from August 18 to 21 at Tweed Heads Bowls Club, with full results available at www.bowlsaustralia.com.au , and Fox Sports broadcast coverage of the semi-finals and finals aired later in the year.