Australian Indoor Championships Preview
The 2016 Australian Indoor Championships will take place
this week, starting on Monday the 22nd of August and will go through
to Thursday the 25th. Tasmania will have 6 representatives, two men
and four women, all of which will be hoping to make a run at a finals berth.
In the Men’s draw, Tasmania will be represented by
Kingborough’s Jarrod Long and Rosny Park’s Nick Ellis. Long has a tough first
round draw against the ACT’s Andrew Howie. Howie has recently represented the
NSW state side and has been a member of the Australian Development squad. Howie
has been a multiple ACT Champion of Champions Winner and is a very good singles
player. Long will be keen to show that he can belong in this company and a
victory against Howie would go a long way to showing this. The winner of this
match will go on to play Jeremy Henry who is the defending champion and goes
into the tournament as one of the favourites.
Aaron Page was the original second qualifier after
defeating Ellis in the semi final in Tasmania, however he had to withdraw from
the event due to work commitments giving Ellis the opportunity to take that
second place in the National event.
Ellis plays Victorian Anthony Mathison at 2pm on Monday. Although Mathison
is not a well-known as Howie, he has had success in Victoria and represented
Central Victoria. Ellis has recently returned to the Rosny Park bowls club and
is keen to do his best and make his club proud. “I was lucky enough to practice
with Karen Murphy today, she was very supportive and is such a wonderful
ambassador for our game,” said Ellis who has arrived at Tweed Heads early to be
fully prepared for the tournament. “Although some may think age is against me
(Ellis is 71), I’m keen to give the younger bowlers a run for their money!”
I would love to say that Ellis & Long are favourites
for the tournament, but there are some great names who could be successful. The
aforementioned Henry leads a strong top half of the field with Aaron Teys and
Barrie Lester also considered strong chances. The bottom half seems more wide
open but both Aron Sherriff & Stephen Halmai, both players who played in
the Golden Nugget, would have to be favoured to at least reach the semi-finals
if not further.
The Women’s draw will see Invermay’s Rebecca Van Asch and
Kim Saunders, joined by East Launceston’s Maureen Zoon and the lone Southern
representative Howrah’s Rosie Geeves. Van Asch has Tasmania’s best chance of
making the final but is in a tough section of the draw and the other three
women will not be letting anyone have an easy time of it.
Zoon starts out against the Northern Territory’s Colleen
Orr, a great opportunity to make the second round, but she will need to be
playing at her best as Orr has been a very successful singles player in the
Territory. If Zoon can have a first round win, a second round match against
Lynsey Clarke is more than likely.
Saunders faces young gun Samantha Noronha, a previous
Australian Open Fours winner. Saunders has had some great results for Tasmania
and will give herself a chance of advancing to the second round. As is the case
for Zoon, a tough second round match up awaits with Kelsey Cottrell the likely
second round opponent of the winner. “I’ve been lucky to have some practice
sessions with (former Australian player) Mark Strochnetter and the qualifying
for the Mad Dog Singles last weekend put me in a good head space for singles”
said Saunders. “Each game is as hard as each other, so I’m just going to take
it one bowl at a time and not think too far ahead.”
Geeves also gained a reprieve when Bree Mabb also had to
withdraw from the event. When all other
Tasmanian players were ranked on results to find the next best qualifier,
Geeves progressed with 5 sets. She will take on Claire Kelly of the Taren Point
Bowls Club. Kelly has recently been added to the NSW Over 60s team, a tough
side to force your way into. Geeves has always been a strong competitor in the
singles arena and will have to be a chance to make the second round. As it
seems to be the case for all second round matches, a tough opponent awaits in
Chloe Stewart, if she is successful.
Van Asch will need to be at the top of her game just to
make the semi-finals. The first round will see a match against West Australian
Shenayde Heldt, followed by a likely match up against Natalie Noronha before
finally facing Lynsey Clarke (or hopefully Maureen Zoon) in a quarter final, but
for Van Asch, facing the best players in the country is what she thrives on.
This will give her multiple chances of playing in a high pressure situation.
Matches like this will continue to build on her preparations for the remainder
of the season leading up to the World Championships at the end of the year.
The Women’s competition is full of high quality players.
I haven’t even mentioned the in-form defending champion Carla Krizanic in the
top half (Van Asch’s half) of the draw or Natasha Scott, Ellen Ryan & Karen
Murphy in the bottom half. Murphy is a six time champion of this event and
loves playing on the Tweed Head surface. “I’m feeling great and looking forward
to the event. All upcoming events are a great preparation for the World
Championships and if I happen to win one along the way it would be a bonus”
said Murphy. Could this be that one victory and see Murphy become a seven time
champion? We’ll be watching closely to see how this tournament progresses.
By David Genford