Ashton Doubles up
22 Nov 2014
Rob Ashton overcame a sluggish start and a tough opponent in Canterbury's Alvin Gardiner to achieve a notable first in the final of the New Zealand Open bowls men's singles at Henderson yesterday.
Ashton won 21-18 to add to the pairs title he claimed on Thursday to become the first man to gain two titles in the one open tournament.
Ashton now has three open titles to add to his five national championships, raising perhaps a question as to why despite this record he has been always overlooked at international level.
However, it did look for some time in yesterday's final that he would be denied his double by Gardiner, who picking up four shots on the seventh end, took an 11-4 lead. But from 6-15 down Ashton produced a stunning burst winning eight consecutive ends to gradually take control of the match.
In the women's triples final, last season's Auckland bowler of the year, Karen de Jongh, skipped the experienced Bev Crowe and Diane Hazelton to a convincing win over Birkenhead's Denise Samuel and her Northland two and lead, Lauren Mills and Margaret Gurney.
The de Jongh combination made a flying start and maintained that momentum to win 15-7 after 14 ends.
Down 14-2 after 10 ends, Samuel was forced into driving to desperately try to kill ends and never quite managed to peg back the leeway.
It was a sweet result for the de Jongh side, as last year it lost the final narrowly to Margaret O'Connor's Central Otago triple.
It was reward, too, for the remarkable consistency shown again by de Jongh as she also performed with distinction to make the semi-finals in the singles and in the pairs with Crowe, another top performer with three national titles to her credit.
De Jongh's singles semifinal conqueror, Bay of Plenty's Marilyn McLeod, made no race of that final.
McLeod waltzed away to a 13-0 lead after seven ends against Waikato's Sue Burnand, the national fours winning skip in 2011, to eventually win 21-9.
This gave McLeod her second title in this event, having earlier been successful in 2010.