Priaulx shakes up the Aussie favourite

IN THE stifling heat of Adelaide yesterday Todd Priaulx seriously threatened to do what no other player has managed this week at the 2019 World Singles Champion of Champions.

Todd Priaulx. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 26224171)
Todd Priaulx. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 26224171)

That is beat the Australian favourite Lee Schraner, the now Tasmamia-based bowls star whose autobiography ‘Nothing to Prove’ tells how he reached the ultimate peak in lawn bowls and played for Australia while suffering with anxiety disorder and depression.

In the evening session of day four, Priaulx took the Aussie star to a deciding set before succumbing to what, sadly, may well be a very hurtful loss in the qualifying process.

The top player from each of the two 14-player sections will go forward to the semi-finals, while those finishing second and third will be randomly drawn to play off for the remaining two places in the semi-finals.

With only a handful of sectional games remaining before the weekend’s finals, Priaulx lies third with a 7-4 win-loss record, but is vulnerable to the chasing American Charlie Herbert (7-3) and Irishman Stephen Coleman (7-4).

The big problem now facing Priaulx is that he has just one match to play, against ninth-placed Israel, while his two big rivals and the South African Wayne Rittmuller ahead of him all have two to play.

Garry Collins, the Bowls Guernsey secretary, said he was not surprised in the slightest to see the Sarnian faring so strongly down under.

‘Once again Todd is mixing it up on the international stage. In his last two Champion of Champions visits he has been so close to qualifying for the knockout stages, but with only three progressing from the groups stages it can be hard going.

‘He has now developed into a world class player indeed, making a name for himself and doing Guernsey proud at every event,’ he added.

Yesterday, Priaulx had jumped up to second in the table by teatime after convincing straight-set wins over Fiji and Turkey.

In the evening session against Aussie Schraner, though, he was hammered in the first set 19-2, before sneaking the second 9-8 to force a tie-break.

Schraner then reasserted himself to win it 5-0.

If Priaulx were to get through to the semi-finals at the weekend his action can be viewed on the Bowls Australia streaming feed.

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