LEIF Selby’s 99th and final game for Australia has delivered a Commonwealth Games silver medal.
The world number two will bow out of the international arena to spend more time with his family, but leaves at the peak of his powers after pushing Wales’ Robert Weale to near breaking point before succumbing in a tie-break.
Hoping to become just the third Australian to capture the men’s singles crown after the immortal Rob Parrella in Christchurch in 1990 and Kelvin Kerkow in Melbourne in 2006, Selby came unstuck against Weale, who erases his own demons after winning three silvers and a bronze from his past four campaigns.
On the brink of elimination after dropping three of his opening six pool matches, Selby played the ensuing six knowing that any loss would derail his gold medal ambitions but thrived under pressure as he scorched his way into the gold medal play-off.
“I gave it everything I had but it was his night,” Selby said.
“Silver, I’m proud of that, I’m very happy.
“I’m not retiring, I’m leaving the door slightly ajar, but just need to escape a few things for a little while.”
With Weale bowling the house down in the opening set, Selby weathered the storm as he stuck to the task at hand and finally the rub of the green started to turn his way.
Down 4-6 with just two ends to play in the second set, Selby rose to the occasion, drawing three spectacular shots to apply the pressure to the Welsh great, who couldn’t reduce the count.
On the very next end, Selby replicated the feat and when Weale’s weighted effort went sailing through the hole, a tie-break was required.
With the momentum soundly behind him the Australian superstar appeared headed for the perfect swansong before fate failed to intervene.
Driving down two in the head on the opening end of the tie-break, Selby appeared to have the jack clean but caught only one of Weale’s and his nearest shot bowl to shift the momentum to his opponent.
Holding three on the very next end, Weale, driving for one of the few times in the match, got the perfect result to open up a 4-0 lead and all but seal his second gold Commonwealth Games medal. As a result, Australia finished with three silver and a bronze in Delhi.