Fairytale end for Kerkow
SOUTH Tweed Sports bowls champion Kelvin Kerkow capped off a successful year with a fairytale victory in the Scottish International Open yesterday to win the World Bowls Tour title. Kerkow, the current Commonwealth Games singles gold medallist blitzed compatriot David Gourlay, completely dominated the final. The clash between two of the sport's most highly-rated players was a surprisingly one-sided affair with Kerkow winning 11-5 13-3 despite Scottish-based Gourlay being a favourite with the home crowd. Kerkow, the world No.9, put his stamp on the match early in the first set. The South Tweed Sports bowls promotion officer raced to an 8-1 lead before Gourlay mounted a comeback. Gourlay, celebrating a record third successive appearance in a WBT final, held three shots in the 10th end which would have levelled the set at 8-all but Kerkow snatched a single to leave the fourth seed needing a full-house in the final end to tie the set. After winning the first set, Kerkow attacked the second set in similar fashion and again built a commanding 8-0 lead. "It was a fairytale result," Kerkow said. "I got a great start in the first set and then did the same in the second and there was no way I could have imagined doing this against a player like David. "I felt comfortable throughout the match, I didn't feel under any pressure. "I felt I got better with every game here in Perth." A disappointed Gourlay was at a loss to explain the match. "He played really well and put me under so much pressure with his first bowls," the former world No.1 said. "The first bowl is key and once your opponent's on a roll it's so difficult. "He was fantastic, he never missed." In Christchurch, New Zealand, Australia's Julie Keegan suffered a heartbreaking tie-break loss in the World Singles Champion of Champions final yesterday to England's Julie Saunders. Keegan, who qualified for the best-of-the-best tournament by winning the 2006 Australian Open, was downed 2-1 in a thrilling best-of-three-ends shoot-out by England's Julie Saunders. The Noosa Heads-based bowler conceded the first set 10-2 but bounced back to take the second 8-6 only to lose the tie-break. In the men's final, Scotland's Darren Burnett overcame a slow start to beat Israeli Jeff Rabkin in three sets.