Australia complete their Trans-Tasman domination
The New Zealand team had the best of their 3 days but it wasn’t enough to stop the Australians in all but one of the disciplines. The Kiwi’s Women’s development team won the 3rd test but in all other series, the Australian’s walked away with a 3-0 white wash.
Our Tasmanian contingent of Lachie Sims & Rebecca Van Asch, were crucial to success in their events with both players undefeated on the days play and only losing one match each over the 3 days.
Sims played lead in all matches today a slight change after having previously played two during the fours format, but with Jono Davis being given a chance in the singles, Sims was asked to take the jack and set up the heads for his team. The first game was Triples and the Australians got off to a great start leading 21-4 at one stage. They were than able to play conservatively, allowing New Zealand to win some ends but never allowing a major score to be dropped. The end result was 24-10. The Pairs, who played at the same time lost 16-18 so it was 3 points each after the first session.
In the second match of Fours and Singles, it was the Singles match of Davis & Sheldon Bagrie Hawley that caught the attention of the crowd. Some excellent bowls were played and the score was locked at 20-20 going into the last end. Bagrie Hawley would win that last end and put the pressure on the Fours team to even the ledger. In another close match the Aussie’s always had their nose in front and despite New Zealand having a chance to pick up a score on the last end, the experienced Corey Wedlock drew two shots and gave Australia the 18-11 win and the test was level once again.
The third session would decide the test and both games were closely fought. Neither team could gain an upper hand but for the first time in the day, both Australian teams would fight out a win. Sims Triple’s team winning 18-11. As mentioned before that gave Sims a 5 Wins and 1 Loss record, a very impressive debut. Members of the crowd were also impressed by the way all 5 players played but Corey Wedlock & Aaron Teys both stood out as quality players of the future.
Van Asch had a dream morning, skipping the Triples with Kelsey Cottrell leading & Lynsey Armitage playing as her two. It ended up being a very one sided affair with the end result being 33-7. Carla Krizanic & Natasha Scott also had a big win in the Pairs, winning 31-8, the Australian contingent taking advantage of New Zealand’s premier player Jo Edwards being rested. In the second session Van Asch was rested and it would be the only session of play where the New Zealand women would win both matches. Hopefully the Commonwealth Games selectors didn’t feel as though that was a conincidence!
Van Asch returned for the deciding third session, skipping the Pairs with Lynsey Clarke and taking on Jo Edwards. It would be Edwards who got off to a great start and put the pressure onto the Australian pair. But both Clarke and Van Asch dug deep and started to not only reduce the deficit but to also take the lead. The last few ends proved crucial and it would go the way of the Australians, 20-17 being the final margin. An impressive win against one of the best female skips in the world. It was also crucial for the result of the third test as the Triples combination was defeated by 1 shot. The end result being 9-9 but the dominant first session got the Australians over the line.
The Open Men’s team won their 3rd test 10 points to 7, giving them the 3-0 result for the series. Scott Thulborn, who was one of the additions to the World Cup players, gelled very well with his team mates and I’m sure is starting to give the Commonwealth Games selectors some headaches on who to select. “I’m absolutely thrilled with the result! It was a great team effort by everyone in the Jackaroos against a very good New Zealand team” said Thulborn at the conclusion of the days play. The focus for the Open teams now moves to the Multi Nations event, again at the Broadbeach Bowls Club; “I am super keen to get into the Multi Nations tomorrow! Hopefully we can keep the winning form going. It’s a strong line-up of teams, every team is dangerous, and it should be a great experience.” Thulborn’s team mate Brett Wilkie was glowing of every Australian player, “I was extremely pleased with the whole Aussie contingent, winning all trophies on offer versus New Zealand. It really was a fantastic team effort from the Jackaroos with all players contributing to the whitewash (In the Open Men’s).” The Multi Nations is also now to the forefront for Wilkie, “It will be an extremely competitive format and a fantastic prelude to the Commonwealth Games. Scotland, who feature multiple World & Commonwealth champions, will obviously be one of the teams to beat.”
I was also able to catch up with Lachie Sims also at the conclusion of play, “It’s been a long three days but all the worthwhile! The competition was fierce across all fields but what the Aussie’s achieved was outstanding.” As I said before, Sims had impressed some of the onlookers but it’s always interesting to see what the player themselves think about their own performance; “I’m usually pretty tough on myself when it comes to how I’ve played but the coaches and staff were really pleased with my play across the three days.” Whilst the Open teams have an immediate focus starting tomorrow, Sims has a couple of weeks to wait, “The Australian Open starts in a fortnight and that is now my focus. It’s my last chance at juniors, so I’m keen to give it a red hot crack!”
All of the Australian players have done a great job over the last few days but as a state we can be incredibly proud of how our two players played and handled themselves off the green. Our fingers will be crossed that Van Asch has impressed the Commonwealth Games selectors and that Sims has shown he belongs in this environment and can be given more chances in the future.
For more information about all disciplines including the Women’s development and Para-Sport teams go to the Bowls Australia article summing up the days play.
By David Genford