Australian Men lead the Jackaroo charge
The 2016 World Championships started today in New Zealand, which lived up to its reputation as the windy isles! The Australian Men would start the campaign undefeated but the Women lost some matches that will hopefully not come back to hurt them once the sectional play is complete.
For Tasmania’s Rebecca Van Asch it was a slow start to the day for her team, finishing with 1 win and 2 losses and sitting 6th in the section of 10. It could have been a very different story if the last end of the first match would have gone their way. Scores were level at 15-15 and Australia had the last bowl giving them the advantage. Australia held two before the Welsh skipper played her last bowl, only to see her draw the shot. Kelsey Cottrell chose to play weight to remove the bowl and only just missed by the smallest of margins. Wales would follow this initial victory with two more and sit on top of the ladder in front of the only other undefeated team in Ireland.
The Australian team rallied in the second match and were dominant in their win against Namibia 29-13. Now you may think that Namibia would be an easy win but in their other matches they defeated Fiji and Canada and currently sit above the Australians on the ladder. The third game was against the home team who were also sitting on one win and one loss but New Zealand got the upper hand and ran away victors 21-13.
Van Asch was positive at the end of the days play; “We haven’t had the best start in the fours, but we had a lot of positives today and we’ll be hoping to take those into tomorrow and try and improve. There’s still a long way to go and we just need to do what we are capable of.” Tomorrow sees matches against South Africa and Hong Kong who are below Australia on the ladder before finishing against the in-form Ireland who could easily be 5-0 heading into this match up.
In the singles Karen Murphy, who was playing at a venue away from all her Jackaroo team mates, got off to a great start defeating Cyprus 21-7 & the US 21-14 before coming unstuck against Kenya 16-21. This was the shock result of the day as Kenya had previously failed to score above 12 against New Zealand & Fiji in their earlier match ups. If Murphy can have a successful start to tomorrow against Fiji (5th), this would set up a mouth-watering match of the day against Canada who is currently the only undefeated player in the section. The last match is against Wales (7th).
The Men, who are playing in the Pairs and Triples formats for the first week, finished with identical records to each other with two wins and a draw. In the Pairs, Brett Wilkie & Aaron Wilson sit 2nd behind Hong Kong, with all other teams having suffered a loss. The highlight of their day had to be defeating defending World Champion and the player commonly referred to as the best in the World, Alex Marshall, 16-11. Wilson, who was making his Australian debut at these championships, was very pleased with the last result of the day. “It was a big high having a win against Scotland, but we know tomorrow is going to be a big day.” They play Singapore and Fiji who are in the bottom 4 of the group before a top of the table clash against Hong Kong to conclude the day.
The Triples see themselves on top of the ladder as every team except for them suffered a defeat. Jersey, Ireland & New Zealand are hot on their heels but tomorrow our trio won’t play any of those countries, so three wins could cause some real separation at the top of the section. Barrie Lester sounded very focussed at the conclusion of the days play. “We are very happy to be top of the section after the first day but it has been very important to block out our success and just make sure we stick to our routine and keep form. Being in our situation is great, but there is a long way to go in this event.” When questioned about who the main dangers were in the group, Lester was quick to point out how close this section is. “There are plenty of teams to look out for, there were upsets all over the place today.” Let’s hope that our Australian combination avoid any upsets tomorrow!
To see live scores and updates, check out the Burnside Bowls Club page who have been providing all the information. http://www.burnsidebowlingclub.com/2016WorldBowlsChampionshipMensResults.html
Bowls Australia is also posting articles after each round of play, they’re coverage can be found here
By David Genford