Henry triumphs in World Cup thriller

BOWLS

An opening-round World Cup scare has been a happy omen for Jeremy Henry with the back-to-back champion needing an extra tie-break end to win his first match on Tuesday.

Henry lost the opening set to Singapore’s Christian Huange 8-5, won the second 14-4 and took the 4-end tie-break 3-2 after the score was locked 2-2 after the designated three ends.

The Warilla-based Henry lost his first World Cup match in 2012 and only clinched victory in his first match last year with his final bowl.

‘‘Start slow, finish strong is, hopefully, the plan,’’ Henry said.

‘‘You have to work your way into an event like this and if you can sneak over the line once or twice it will help later on.’’

Many of the world’s best men’s and women’s players from 24 countries are competing for a 10th straight year on the indoor carpet at Warilla.

Players are pooled into two sections and play 10 round-robin games with the top three in each section qualifying for the playoffs.

The section winner advances directly to next Tuesday’s semi-finals while second and third from each section meet in Monday’s knockout round.

Henry claimed the title last year after he won his section while in 2012 he finished second in his pool then won an extra match to take the championship.

Henry would like to win his section and qualify for the semi-finals but knows it won’t be easy.

‘‘I’m probably in slightly the tougher section this year with Shannon [McIlroy], and Stewart [Anderson] the world indoor champion in my section.

‘‘At the end of the day you have to beat the best players to win it so it doesn’t really matter about the draw or what section you’re in.’’

Henry beat one of his major section rivals, New Zealander McIlroy, 10-6, 7-6, in round two.

On Wednesday [10.30am], Henry faces Esmond Lee of China.

Meanwhile, Australian women’s representative Karen Murphy made a strong start in her sixth World Cup with a 10-5, 17-0 win over American Dee McSparran in round one.

Murphy then lost the first set to Norfolk Island’s Carmen Anderson 9-7 in round two before she fought back to win the second set 7-6 and take the tie-break 4-0.

Murphy takes on Japan’s Hiroko Emura in round three on Wednesday [8.30am].

In arguably the most exciting match of day one, Brunei’s Haji Omar Rahman beat Turkey’s Ozkan Akar 5-0 in the tiebreak after the sets were locked 6-6, 7-7 in their men’s round one match.

It is the first time Turkey has been represented at the World Cup.

Four-time defending women’s champion Jo Edwards beat Malta’s Carmen Spiteri in straight sets. Australian men’s No 2 Tony Wood – the Australian indoor champion – battled in his World Cup debut and was beaten by American Neil Furman in straight sets in round one.

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