Sims & Van Asch help Australia get off to a strong start
The Australian team has got off to a flying start in the 2017 Trans-Tasman Series winning the first test in all five disciplines. The event being held at the Broadbeach Bowls Club sees Australia take on New Zealand in the following; Mens, Womens, Development Men, Development Women & ParaSport.
Tasmania has two representatives playing for Australia, Rebecca Van Asch (Invermay) keeps her spot after a successful World Championship campaign and Lachie Sims (Trevallyn) who makes his Australian debut playing in the Development Men’s team. The Australian team is the defending champion in all but one of the events with the Open Women’s going to the Kiwis last year.
The format used sees 5 players split into either singles/fours or pairs/triples with 3 points available for each win, 1 point for a draw and shots up decided as the first tie break.
The two Tasmanian players were strong contributors, only losing one of the six matches they took part in today.
Lachie Sims had a dream debut, going through the day unbeaten. Sims lead in the triples in the first encounter and his rink featuring Nathan Pedersen & skipped by Corey Wedlock never looked troubled. Getting off to a strong start the three boys gelled very well together and ran away 29-13 winners. In his second match the three boys were joined by junior superstar Jono Davis who moved into the lead spot with the other three moving up one in the order. In a repeat of the first match the team got off to a strong start and had New Zealand under pressure. The Kiwi’s fought back and got the margin back to three but the boys dug deep and ended up comfortable winners by 10 shots. The third match saw Sims playing triples again but it would be the Kiwis who started the strongest, leading by 5 after 7 ends. But to the boys credit they fought hard and slowly pulled back the margin before winning 16-12.
Rebecca Van Asch also had a very strong day. The Women’s team are using six players in this series with Lynsey Armitage joining the 5 players who performed so well at the World Championships. This means one player has a rest and they have also moved the combinations around during the day. Van Asch played all three games today, skipping the triples in session one and three whilst she played three in the fours in session two.
The first match saw the women play some amazing bowls, which the New Zealand combination had no answer to. A 16-3 lead was never going to be threatened and it wasn’t with the end margin being 17-9. With the Women’s Pairs losing the first match, all players knew they needed another good result to take the advantage in the test. The second match saw the combinations split once again with Karen Murphy losing 16-18 to Jo Edwards but Van Asch’s team in the fours were dominant winning 20-9. With such a strong shots up performance over the first two games, the Women knew they needed one more win and a close result on the other rink just to be safe.
When Van Asch dropped a 5 to be down 6-15 things started to look shaky for the Overall test result. But with Karen Murphy skipping the Pairs, they were unstoppable and to Van Asch’s credit they got back into the game and ensured a close result securing the test win.
Van Asch was very positive after the day’s play, “We’ve had a great start to the day and we think it might be a first to get all of our disciplines over the line on the first day of a Trans-Tasman.” In regards to her personal performance from the day, “I was happy with how I played for my first two games today. We were a little disappointed with how went in the third game today but we kept it tight and got the overall.” With less than a year until the Commonwealth Games, Van Asch was asked about how selection for Gold Coast 2018 might be weighing on the player’s minds, “Our main priority this event is to just try and win the Trans-Tasman but of course selection for Comm Games is in the back of our minds and we are trying to do everything to put our best foot forward.”
Sims was pretty happy at the start of days play, let alone a strong debut performance, “There’s is no greater feeling than representing your very own country at the sport you love most. Feeling didn’t really kick in until I pulled on the colours this morning.” Sims has been honing his skills in the Melbourne Premier League playing at the Melbourne Bowls Club and securing the Premiership with his brother Michael, a previous Australian Under 18 representative. Playing in Melbourne has really helped in developing my game. Playing at such a high level against quality opposition has helped me in easing into the national level which is just about the best preparation possible.”
For a full wrap of the other test matches, head to the Bowls Australia website and their article summing up the day’s play;
By David Genford