Photo Credit - Bowls Australia

Double Delight in Australian Champ of Champs

by Billy Johnson

For the first time since 2019, NSW can boast having both the current titleholders in the Men’s and Women’s Australian Champion of Champion Singles. Jono Davis (Dubbo Macquarie) and Karen Murphy (Cabramatta) have emerged victorious, albeit in very different circumstances.

For those who are unaware, the Australian Champion of Champion Singles is conducted in a round-robin format with every State champion playing against each other once. After these matches are completed, the player with the most wins is declared Australian Champion of Champions. If two players finish with the same amount of wins, the net margin is then used to determine a winner.

Karen Murphy came into the Australian CoC event on the back of her NSW CoC title that she won back in June, which included victories over the likes of Sarah Boddington and Dawn Hayman in the process. After enjoying a first round bye, Murphy had six rounds of 21-up singles matches to play. Keeping in mind that every opponent had to win through their respective states to qualify, Murphy was absolutely clinical stringing together six-straight victories.

To really highlight the dominance of her performance, she averaged over 10 shots per win, with the closest score a 21-13 win in the fifth round. Taking away nothing from her opponents, Murphy was simply on another level over the event, storming to her second Australian Champion of Champion title after first winning the event in 2012.

Jono Davis’ route to the Australian CoC crown could not have been closer, with the Macquarie Dubbo bowler claiming the title of Mark Nitz (TAS) by a solitary shot. Heading into the final round, both players were equal on wins AND margin, meaning that Davis would need to win his final match by a larger margin than Nitz, or lose by fewer shots.

In his final round match, Davis defeated Trystan Smallacombe (NT) 21-14 which left Mark Nitz needing victory over Cohen Litfin (QLD) by the same margin or less. At one stage Nitz led 19-14 over Litfin and was holding shot, but as fate would have it Litfin drew shot with his last to bring his score to 15 and guaranteeing Davis the title. Nitz’ final score of 21-15 meant that it was that single shot that proved the difference over seven rounds of play.

Jono and Karen will now represent Australia at the World Champion of Champions played at Naenae in New Zealand from 19 – 26 November!