Christchurch, New Zealand | December 11, 2016
The 2016 World Bowls Championships came to a close today for Team Canada with Ryan Bester (Hanover, ON) bringing home the silver medal in the men’s singles discipline.
Bester faced home town favourite and 2012 World Bowls bronze medallist, Shannon McIlroy of New Zealand in the gold medal match. First time finalist, McIlroy, started off very strong against Bester. The men traded single shots back and forth to bring the score to 9-10 in McIlroy’s favour. In the next end Bester managed to upset the head to gift McIlroy a full house to now trail 9-14. The New Zealander was able to capitalize on this momentum to score an immediate three points in the following end and extend his lead over Bester (9-17). During the eight points that Bester gave up, he was not able to find his draw weight on the green, coming up either long or short with his bowls.
In the second half of the match, a determined Bester dug deep to bring himself within striking distance of McIlory, trailing 15-18, only to see McIlroy pick up another two positioning the Kiwi within one point of the needed 21 points to claim the win. Sensing a victory in the next end, McIlroy was lying two in the head with only one bowl left to play by Bester. The Canadian, respectively identified by his peers as the “Master Blaster”, drove a spectacular shot to clear the head of New Zealand bowls and score a much needed two points (17-20).
In the final end, McIlroy trailed the jack with his third bowl to sit two, placing tremendous pressure on the Canadian’s fourth and final bowl. Unfortunately, Bester came up just short and McIlroy’s last bowl was not needed for his 21-17 victory and the World Champion title. This match marked Ryan Bester’s third trip to a major final as he was also the silver medallist at the 2012 World Championships and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Bester’s silver medal tops a great two weeks of bowls for Team Canada at the 2016 World Bowls Championships which also saw Toronto’s Kelly McKerihen win bronze in the women’s singles in the first week of play.
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