- Advertisement -

2024 AUSTRALIAN OPEN: THE MOST SPECIAL OF ALL

It is rare to see a major tournaments witness as many close finals as what the Australian Open produced in 2024, but that was the case on what will go down as one of the most glorious fortnights in the event’s history (writes Val Febbo, Bowls Australia).

From scintillating singles contests to engrossing pairs matchups, the competition left fans both on the Gold Coast and at home in awe of what was transpiring on the rink.

Three-peat and Magnificent 6 for Omar

To win one singles title at the Australian Open is something special, but to win three in a row and six overall is something that never entered the realms of possibility when the inaugural Australian Open was played 19 years ago.

Yet that is the feat that Aron Sherriff has achieved thanks to a remarkable 21-19 win over his Queensland teammate in Cohen Litfin.

In a field of 1,312, Sherriff was required to play 12 matches to win the trophy and continued his stunning singles form at the tournament to lift the trophy once more.

Winning an event with a field of that size is an accomplishment in itself, but to win it on three successive occasions is astonishing and a testament to the path of greatness that the Right at Home Jackaroo has constructed so far.

Sherriff now has eight Australian Open titles, extending his record on the men’s side, and has continued his unbeaten singles run at the event to 1,099 days.

Butler serves miraculous narrative

Before the tournament commenced, just one player outside of the Jackaroos had clinched the player of the tournament honour in the form of Ryan Bester in 2018.

But Laura Butler (pictured left with Kristina Krstic) was able to make her own history by enjoying a run that will go down in the event’s folklore for decades to come.

The Switzerland international and Western Australian was inspiring in her run to the singles title, eliminating the likes of Lynsey Clarke and Chloe Stewart before taking down Kelsey Cottrell in the decider.

Butler’s player of the tournament accolade would come after progressing to the pairs semifinal and fours quarterfinal on top of her singles trophy.

Mums to be provide wholesome tones

What is more astonishing for Butler is that she is pregnant and managed to enjoy such a fruitful event.

But in a tournament first, two females were able to salute while carrying a child as Ellen Fife took home the women’s pairs title with Kristina Krstic.

Seventh time is the charm for Krstic

Kristina Krstic entered the women’s pairs decider at the tournament having lost her previous six final, so you would give her every right to be nervous, but the 30-year-old was determined to climb to the top step this year.

In the final against Tayla Bruce and Jessie Cottell, Krstic and her best friend in Fife were in blistering form, controlling the heads and converting when needed.

They would eventually gain an unassailable lead with an end to spare, rejoicing in each others arms and collecting another gold to go with the Commonwealth Games title the pair won together almost two years ago.

Youth wows the crowd at Broadbeach

Two years ago, Jack McShane and Joseph Clarke were playing against each other in the under 18 boys singles final, but in 2024 they were thrust into the men’s pairs final against Flynn O’Shaughnessy and Nathan Rice.

Having defeated some handy opponents in the run to the final, the 19-year-old pair kept up with their opponents early before gaining the lead late.

Some superb bowls from Rice sent the match to an extra end before McShane played a stupendous bowl with the final delivery to ensure that the duo would take the crown.

It was one of the most remarkable storylines of the tournament, and what made things more unbelievable was that they would front up just a few hours later in the men’s fours decider.

The pair would go down in an epic to Carl Healey and his team, but their achievements will live long in the memories of the tournament.

In addition, Victorian under 18 stars in Koby Cromie and Akasha Fortune won mammoth finals in the junior disciplines to set themselves up for the future.

Bonnell rectifies 2023

Right at Home Para Jackaroo Serena Bonnell was on the wrong end of the result following the 2023 multi disability women’s singles final against Cheryl Lindfield.

The Queenslander would again find herself in the decider, this time against Louise Hoskins and would ensure that she put last year behind her with a sublime performance to secure her maiden AO crown.

Fehlberg joins the double figure club

Vision impaired star Jake Fehlberg became the third bowler to win ten Australian Open titles following his two golds in the 2024 edition.

He partnered with Helen Boardman to clinch the VI mixed pairs and took home the singles after a gritty win over Western Australia’s Calvin Rodgers.

Fehlberg joins Lynsey Clarke and Kelsey Cottrell as the only three players to have saluted on ten occasions.