Tassie Trio through to the last 8
The Australian Open started its first discipline of Post Sectional play when the Men’s Fours went from 64 teams to 8 and three Tasmanian players are through to the quarter finals. Josh Mabb (Buckingham), Robert McMullen (East Launceston) & Lee Schraner (Rosny Park) were joined by Geoff Maskell (Paradise Point), who played in the two position and will now play a NSW quarter on Wednesday morning. A Tasmanian Four featuring Ross Bannister (Derwent City), Steve Graf (Sandy Bay), Peter Bannister (Derwent City) & Taelyn Male (Kingborough) featured heavily in the days play only going down in the round of 16.
Schraner’s rink won their first match 15-12 and followed this up with a 16-12 victory featuring a team with Ian Taylor. This set up a match against Peter Blackburn from Queensland but a strong start and consistent play saw a dominant 22-6 win, the biggest win from the round of 16.
Male’s rink left it to the last end to win in a very low scoring 11-10 score line. Their second match was also a very tight affair with neither team able to pick up multiple scores on a consistent basis. The end result was a 13-8 victory and a match up against Abdul Latif who had just defeated the defending champions. Against Latif the Tasmanian team got off to a slow start, “We were on the back foot from the start. It was a low scoring game so we never got far behind” said Male at the conclusion of the day’s play. The end result was 9-12 but a great effort from the team none the less and Male was pleased with how the day had gone, “I’m thrilled with the team’s effort to make it to the final 16. We played some good games and knocked of a few quality opposition teams along the way. It was a good experience.”
Schraner’s combination will now take on Darren Morrison from NSW with the winners playing either a Malaysian or Scottish team with the Scot’s skipped by arguably the World’s Number 1 player Alex Marshall. But Schraner isn’t focused on who he plays, not even checking his opposition until tonight. “I’m just happy that we are combining well. I’m unsure who our next opponents are as I haven’t looked.” But could they go on to win? “There is only 8 teams so left, so we are a 1 in 8 chance. Geoff and I have had a full week and are a little weary but the next round isn’t until Wednesday,” said Schraner. “Rowdy (McMullen) and Mabby are going well and we are looking forward to putting our best foot forward.”
The Tasmanian teams have been performing very well over the first week with lots more teams and individuals through to the knock out stages of the event. Our female contingent are doing especially well with two more teams involving Tasmanians qualifying for the Fours. Bec Van Asch, who is through in all three disciplines won her section playing with Lynsey Clarke as her skip and the trio of Candice Hodgetts (Buckingham), Deb Lee (Invermay) & Kim Saunders (Invermay) who were skipped by Rosie White also qualifying. (Saunders is also through in all three disciplines).
Tomorrow the Singles Knock Out commences. Lyn Page, Van Asch, Saunders & Peri Buckley will be playing in the Women’s competition whilst Shane Young, McMullen, Graf, Lachie Sims & Michael Sims are playing in the Men’s.
I managed to catch up with three players before they step on to the green tomorrow.
Shane Young, who plays out of the Beltana bowls club won through his section and now plays Shannon Rowe from the Kahbibah Sports bowls club in NSW. “It was great to win a section and I’ll hopefully participate in as many games as possible but from now on in it’s one step at a time.” Young has had some tough sections but has enjoyed the challenge of playing the best; “I’ve played against some big guns of world bowls. I’ve had the privilege to play against Henry, McIlroy and Rice in other disciplines and I’d enjoy another chance or two to meet players of that calibre. All of the Tassie players will endeavour to keep the flag flying for the rest of the event.”
Steve Graf from Sandy Bay plays Lindsay Thomas from New Zealand and as mentioned above has just had a full day on the green playing in the fours; “It’s been a great week thus far. I am very happy with my game at the moment, the confidence is good and looking forward to the next challenge.” After having success in the two events Graf was asked about which discipline he prefers to play in; “
I have no particular preference. The personal challenges that singles dishes up is enjoyable and testing, but the contributing aspect in a team situation is very satisfying and also enjoyable.” Graf has always been known as a strong draw bowler and this has seen him when many singles games without having to play a bowl at quick speed; “Yes consistent drawing skills are the key to singles success and I feel I have that with me at present and being prepared to take the game on at this level is certainly in my mind.”
Peri Buckley who is also from Sandy Bay (I promise to get some quote’s from some Northern bowlers tomorrow, I didn’t even think of that when I asked the players!) takes on Canadian international Kelly McKerihen. Buckley has also qualified for post sectional play in the Pairs so is some good form from the first week. “I will be taking it one shot at a time and hope that I can get a good result tomorrow.” The weather hasn’t been the best but maybe this has worked in the favour of the cold weather specialists; “The conditions are certainly trying but it’s amazing how quickly the greens drain. Some sunshine would be good!”
We wish all our players the best of luck and will hopefully have some players still in the hunt after tomorrow’s play. The Men are scheduled to play 3 Games and the Women 2, leaving 32 players left in both events.
Here are the complete matches for the Tasmanian players
Lyn Pagevs Karen Murphy (Cabramatta, NSW)
Bev Van Asch vs Pauline Beadman-Sweeney (Tewantin Noosa, QLD)
Peri Buckley vs Kelly McKerihan (Caufield Park Alma, VIC)
Kim Saunders vs Christine Gordon (Harbord, NSW)
Shane Young plays Shannon Rowe (Kahibah Sports, NSW)
Robert McMullen plays Russell Hall (Heathmont, VIC)
Steve Graf plays Lindsay Thomas (Queenstown, Otago, NZ)
Lachie Sims plays Nic Gosley (Musgrave Hill, QLD)
Michael Sims plays Kevin Anderson (Broadbeach, QLD)
To read the Bowls Australia summary of today’s play (that doesn’t mention our Men’s team who got through to the last 8) go here http://australianopen.bowlsaustralia.com.au/2017-Event-Info/News/heavyweights-loom-as-the-mens-fours-down-to-eight
To see the full draw and schedule go here https://sportsdesq.sportstg.com/portal/index.cfm?fuseaction=main&OrgID=16084
By David Genford