Brossard, QB, WPH Press, 5/20/19- The best players in Canadian handball gathered in Quebec for the 2019 Canadian Nationals. The Men’s Open singles draw featured former R48 top 25 pro Ryan Bowler, former #2 USHA pro and Canadian legend Danny Bell, Edmonton’s “Sugar” Shane Vigen and Canadian young guns John Audet, Jermone Santerre, Ivan Burgos, Michael Gaulton, and Alex Carew.
Bowler entered Canada’s marquee event as the top seed in a section of the draw that featured two of Canada’s rising stars, Ivan Burgos and Jermome Santerre. Bowler met Burgos in the semifinals after Burgos survived a tiebreaker against Santerre in the quarterfinals. The Ontario sparring partners split the first two games, setting up a third game for a spot in the final. Burgos raced to a 9-4 tiebreaker lead but Bowler charged back, scoring three consecutive points to serve at 7-9. “Ivan hurt his hand at 7-9, possibly even broke it,” stated Bowler. Bowler escaped, advancing to the final, 11-9.
The ageless Danny Bell (…will turn 58 Years old in October of this year) continued to amaze in the bottom bracket. After nearly qualifying for the R48 tour in March in his mid 50’s, Bell entered the 2019 Canadian Nationals as the #2 seed as cruised to the final, dominating R48 #34 Michael Gaulton in the quarterfinals and sweeping John Audet in the semifinals.
Bowler and Bell battled for three hours in the dramatic final, as Bowler was seeking his first Canadian National 4-Wall singles title, while Bell aimed for his 12th Canadian National Men’s Open singles title and first since 2005, while becoming the oldest Men’s Open champion in modern major handball tournament history. Bell took the first game of the final, while Bowler bounced back to win the second.
“I started up 7-2 (in the tiebreaker),” reported Bowler. “Danny rebounded to 10-7. I fought off a couple match points to 9-10, before he closed 11-9. The match was crazy long. The tiebreaker was probably almost an hour. Every rally was long, with great retrieves. Danny played great, outlasted me. The final shot was a front wall kill on the left side, that was just out of my diving reach.”
Shauna Hilley dominated the women’s bracket, outscoring her two opponents by a combined score of 84-4. The Irish star now living in Vancouver proved she is one of the best players in the sport, allowing WR48 #8 Leslie Amminson just two total points in the final.
Final: Hilley def Amminson 21-1, 21-1
Thank you to Canadian R48 superstar Ryan Bowler for the updates from Quebec!
Follow all of the brackets from the 2019 Canadian Nationals HERE
WPH Senior Writer