Sport | Bowls

Shannon McIlroy chasing more titles in 2019

Ngāti Porou's Shannon McIlroy is on top of the Bowls world, and in 2019 he is aiming to stay there.

McIlroy won the World Champion of Champions event in 2018, becoming the first person to hold that title and the World Championship at the same time. He is aiming to return to the World Championships in 2020 to defend the title he won in Christchurch in 2016. Only one male has won back to back World Championships, England's Tony Allcock in 1992 and 1996. McIlroy is hopeful he can make history next year, "if I was to win the World Championship again I think, straight away that makes me in regards to the singles discipline one of the greater singles players in New Zealand, results-wise anyway," he said.

The Gisborne raised McIlroy has a big year between now and then. He is currently in Auckland at the New Zealand Nationals, later this year he will head to the Gold Coast, Australia for the Asia-Pacific championships, which is a qualifier for next year's World Championships.

McIlroy is in Auckland this week competing in the New Zealand National Tournament. The 2018 champion is hoping to defend his title. He also won it in 2016, and as he didn't compete in 2017, he is aiming for a third consecutive title. He describes his qualifying play was at around 60%, and had hit "a couple of speed bumps" along the way. losing his first singles match of the tournament. He is impressed with some of the younger players at the tournament, "a lot of the young ones who play in these events, and the Nationals, in particular, they're close to the Top 10 players going around, so you know if they play well, they're very hard to beat."If he is to take top honours this year, it will be his 6th overall title in 15 years competing at a senior level.

If the Nelson-based McIlroy, who turned 32 yesterday, is successful in defending his title, it will be his 6th national title overall, edging him closer to Gary Lawson's 13 titles. something which he says will always "be a massive motivation for me, to want to, chase the people that have the most national titles, the most world titles." England's David Bryant, with three singles and a Triples, holds the record for most World Championships.

McIlroy is confident he still plenty of time to achieve those goals.