King & Queen of the Roads 2021
CONGRATULATIONS TO DAVID MURPHY AND SILKE TULK
With a last shot for the ages, David Murphy, claimed a fifth Hurley’s of Midleton King of the Roads title at Ballincurrig on Sunday afternoon last, Gary Daly’s game challenge finally broken at the end of the most dramatic of finals. The famed festival made a welcome return delivering an eight-score programme filled with the best the bowling game has to offer. Sunday’s men’s final had it all, the pity that there had to be a loser after an enthralling contest. Both had excelled in Saturday semi-final victories and the tempo was raised after one of the most explosive starts seen in the festival’s long history. Murphy was the money favourite in the €10,300 total stake and faced an immediate test when Daly threw off with one of the longest opening shots seen at the venue. The Brinny man showed he was up for it when coming within metres and he threw down the gauntlet then with two exceptional efforts that brought him right around to the end of the ‘green’. Undaunted, Daly matched both and held a slender lead at ‘the lines’. Murphy’s screamer up the ‘long straight’ looked like giving him a meaningful advantage, but Daly kept it level with a splendid tenth to the ‘big turn’. The Fermoy man was going for glory then with a superb eleventh up the ‘short straight’ and Murphy’s hopes looked forlorn close to a bowl down with four to go. Throwing his odds, Daly’s next went right and when Murphy lined a big one to ‘the elbow’, the ascendancy was back with the Brinny man. The relentless drama continued as Murphy’s next caught the right-hand grass leaving him thirty behind for the final exchanges. He dug himself out in spectacular fashion with a last shot that swung to the end of ‘O’Connell’s green’ giving Daly an almost impossible task. The 2019 champion made a gallant effort but fell nine metres short leaving David Murphy now on a pedestal level with Bill Daly on five King crowns each.
The buzz was still there as the three-way Kingston New Homes sponsored Queen of the Roads decider got underway in on the return route. It provided another classic confrontation as Silke Tulk and Kelly Mallon battled for the coveted crown with Germany’s Martina Goldenstein. Unfortunately for Martina, the opposition was at another level and the contest soon revolved around the games leading ladies. Tulk made the better start and had seventy metres on Mallon after seven with the German champion almost two down at this point. The All-Ireland champion took her first lead with a sweeping ninth, but Tulk came back with a cracking thirteenth regaining a handy advantage for the last quarter. It proved a vital cushion in the face of the expected late charge from the defending champion. That duly materialised with a ferocious fifteenth past the finish line, but Silke Tulk had enough in hand to take her fifth Queen title.
Photos by Gretta Cormican