Shannon McIlroy and Jo Edwards with their national titles in Dunedin. Photos: Bowls NZ.

Champions again

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Nelson’s reputation as a breeding ground for top lawn bowlers will have only grown at this week’s Bowls NZ National Open Championships in Dunedin, with the region laying claim to four of the top six titles.

World Champion Shannon McIlroy, of the Stoke club, won the men’s singles title, with former United Club bowler Jo Edwards claiming the women’s singles crown.

In the doubles, former Stoke member Ali Forsyth won the men’s title with Gary Lawson.

In the fours, a composite team of Shannon, Ali, Gary and Justin Goodwin also won.

It could have been another championship for Nelson with Amy McIlroy’s composite team losing a very tight womens fours final.

For Jo, the win was her fifth national title, earning her a Bowls NZ gold star.

“It’s pretty special,” she told the Otago Daily Times.

The two national titles for Shannon caps off a thrilling 13 months for the reining Nelson Sportsman of the Year, winning the world title at the end of 2016, the national singles title in early 2017, and now retaining it in 2018.