Van Asch off to dream start, Australia win 11 of 12 matches
Tasmania’s Rebecca Van Asch couldn’t have asked for a better start to her skipping duties, winning all 3 games in the Women’s triples and currently sit atop their section.
The day started with a match against the Isle of Man, with a convincing win to the Australian team of 44-4. Canada, who had lost their round one match to Wales would be the next opponent. This team is skipped by Singles Semi Finalist Kelly McKerihen, so the Australian team knew they would have a tougher game in round 2. But once again the Australian team were dominant, running away winners 25-12. Other results were going the Australians way with Round 1 winners Brunei, Scotland & Zimbabwe all losing, leaving Australia and Wales as the only 2 undefeated teams.
The 3rd round saw Australia match up against Zimbabwe. Van Asch, who is teamed with Carla Krizanic & Natasha Scott, would once again be successful by a big margin, winning 27-10. Wales would not be able to join them as an undefeated team losing 5-26 against Fiji. This now leaves Australia on 3 Wins and +70, with Fiji, USA, Brunei & Scotland the teams with 2 wins. The strong shots up now means that Australia can afford to slip up once and still remain in first position.
As you would expect Van Asch was buoyant after the days play, “Today was an ideal start to our triples campaign. We’ve put the high of our 4’s win on the backburner now and we’re completely focussed on the task at hand. We all did our job today and we’re really happy with how we played.” With such a strong start, there is always the concern of complacency entering the players psyche. Van Asch is not concerned of that happening with this team, “Every game at this level is a tough game and is very important, so we’re just going out there to play our game no matter what and stick to our game plan.”
Tomorrow will see the Triples team play the USA (3rd), Fiji (2nd) & Wales (5th) in that order.
The Men’s disciplines joined the Women’s triples in being undefeated after the first day of play. Aron Sherriff, who is looking to defend the Singles title for Australia (won by Leif Selby), didn’t have things his own way with 7 shots being his biggest win of the day. Round 1 saw Sherriff play Peter Bonsor of Spain, winning 21-14. The other match that was closely followed was Ryan Bester (Canada) vs Darren Burnett (Scotland) a rematch of the 2014 Commonwealth Games final. Bester would get revenge on Burnett winning 21-8. Sherriff then played Malcolom De Sousa of Jersey, who had also won his first round match. De Sousa tested Sherriff but it would be the Australian who would take the 21-19 victory. Bester & Namibia’s Will Esterhuizen were the only other players to win their first two matches. The 3rd match of the day was against Macao, with Sherriff winning 21-15. This leaves Sherriff in 2nd place behind Bester, the only two players to win all 3 games. Tomorrow’s match against Burnett in Round 4 could be crucial in Sherriff’s quest to earn a bye into the Semi Final at the conclusion of the sectional play. Sherriff will also face Namibia & Japan to finish the day.
The Men’s Fours team of Barrie Lester, Brett Wilkie, Aaron Wilson & Mark Casey sit 2nd on the ladder after winning their three matches. The Australian team defeated Zimbabwe 21-17, Norfolk Island 27-11 & Singapore 17-11. They sit behind England who are ahead on shots up, +45 compared to Australia’s +26. It is quite possible that both teams could win their first 8 games and play a virtual playoff for the section in Round 9. But the first week of sectional play showed that upsets will occur regularly and the Australians will need to ensure they stay focussed at all times.
The Women’s pairs combination of Kelsey Cottrell & Karen Murphy, looked like they were on track to match the success of the rest of the Jackaroos, but came unstuck in their 3rd round encounter. Convincing wins against Singapore 37-8 and the Netherlands 27-12 gave the pair confidence heading into a 3rd round match vs the hosts New Zealand. And with England slipping up in Round 2, losing 13-17 to Singapore, this was a battle for who would finish the day on top of the section. Despite leading early, the New Zealand combo skipped by Jo Edwards came back strong and were dominant in the second half of the match, winning 24-7. Israel was the only other team to win their first two matches but they also lost in the third round, leaving Australia in second, and equal with England.
Steve Glasson had said at the start of the day that he didn’t want the team to rest on their laurels and the team backed up his comments with an excellent days play. “The team is very upbeat, the unity between the entire group is exceptional to say the least. Everybody is accepting that this week is going to be a great challenge but all are up for it and ensuring that they are ready and give their all.” Glasson, the Australian coach, was also pleased to read all the positive comments being sent the way of the Jackaroos after their first week success, “It goes without saying that they (the team) are extremely appreciative of all the encouragement and support from those here and all those back in Australia.”
Let’s hope that Day 2 is just as successful for the Australian team!
By David Genford