Van Asch falls at final hurdle
Rebecca Van Asch can walk away from today’s play with her head held high after three high quality games against three tough opponents.
Her day started against South Australia’s Karen Mary Gatto. Van Asch was able to dominate the game early and lead 15-9, a lead that looked like the game could be over early. But Gatto was not prepared to give the game away and played some excellent bowls demonstrating why she was in the South Australian team at the recent Sides Championships. The pressure was put back on to Van Asch and at 19-17 she was only one bad end away from the game slipping through her fingers. But that wasn’t to be the case with Van Asch securing 2 shots and a chance to play against one of the World’s best ever Women’s players, Jackaroo team mate Karen Murphy.
Van Asch and Murphy are quite good friend’s thanks to their longevity in the Australian team but it’s usually Murphy selected in the singles discipline for Australia, and as a two time Singles World Champion, that selection is justified. If Van Asch was feeling nervous, she didn’t show it on the green. A 10-0 start to Van Asch is something that Murphy has not had to deal with very often in her career. At the same time Van Asch knew that a slight lapse in concentration would allow Murphy back in to the game and give her some momentum to mount a comeback. That chance never came, with the end score being 21-7, Van Asch has beaten Murphy before but never to that extent.
Van Asch could take that confidence into her next match against Helensvale’s Georgia White. White herself had won convincingly in the previous round, 21-5 against The Hills’ Debbie Howard. White is a previous Under 18 Australian player and a Queensland open representative and if you combine that with her Australian Open Fours win last year, Van Asch knew it wasn’t going to be easy. And what a game it would be. If you have some spare time I can strongly recommend going to the Bowls Australia Facebook page and watching the live stream that was provided.
Rinkside live time! Bec Van Asch v Georgia White women's singles quarter-final.
Posted by Bowls Australia on Saturday, 17 June 2017
And Part 2 (the last end after an untimely malfunction)
Rinkside live – Georgia White v Bec Van Asch part 2
Posted by Bowls Australia on Saturday, 17 June 2017
What you will see is a match of the highest standard. Thankfully there was no time limit on this game as both players were only able to register singles on a regular basis. At 11-10 in Van Asch’s favour, things seemed to be going pretty well for our Tasmanian player. But back to back ends of 3 to White meant that Van Asch had to dig deep. That she did. She pegged back the gap, with the player who had shot changing regularly every end. Van Asch was able to turn the score line from 15-19 to 20-19 and only one shot away from a spot in the Semi Finals.
And then the end that Van Asch will probably relive in her mind, or if she’s sadistic enough she’ll watch the live stream, over and over again. With one bowl each Van Asch was holding the game but it was vulnerable. There is no question she chose to play the right shot, if she could draw another shot on the other side of the head, or if she could sit the second shot, she was going to be in a much stronger position. If she left it alone then White had a golden opportunity to make 2 or 3 and win the game. Murphy’s law (and not Karen Murphy) saw the only bad thing happen that could, the jack got trailed and straight to one of White’s orange bowls. The pressure was off White but she now had an opportunity to add another shot and take the game. Thankfully the bowl looked tight and we would go to a sudden death end. No, not the case. A nice little rub from a short bowl saw the bowl roll in for the shot and to send Van Asch packing 20-21. What is it with heartbreak finishes for Tasmania and their players this season?
The Semi Finals line up like this Sue Brady (Marreba, Qld) vs Georgia White (Helensvale, Qld) and Elma Davis (South Africa) vs Ellen Ryan (Cabramatta, NSW). Ryan is the only previous winner remaining having previously won in 2015.
The Men’s singles is down to 8 players with yesterday’s giant killer Jayden Christie falling in the last round of the day. The matches will be played on Tuesday night with players of the calibre of Nathan Rice, Wayne Reudiger, Aaron Teys & Nathan Pederson all featuring in 6pm matches at Broadbeach.
The Tasmanian focus turns to tomorrow with the Men’s Pairs Knockout taking place as well as the commencement of the Over 60 Men’s Pairs. We have a few teams playing in the later but we will focus on those if they get out of their section. We have 5 players playing in the Open Pairs.
Taelyn Male (Kingborough) & Robert McMullen (East Launceston) take on N Peach & B Merkel of Queensland and are feeling confident heading into tomorrow, “We are confident we can go all the way with a favourable draw and a touch of luck” said McMullen. Having not played together before, it’s been interesting to see how the two players have gelled together, “We are not really surprised (to have had success) as we get along outside of bowls and had been meaning to play together in pairs before but it hadn’t eventuated.” Players often trot out the one game at a time quote but McMullen is happy to admit how he approaches the day, “I definitely like to know my first up opponents and what possible opponents for later in the day so I can formulate a strategy for each game.” The weather seems to have changed on the Gold Coast with less rain forecast but McMullen was very complementary of the surfaces he has faced so far; “The greens at the four clubs I have played at rival the best greens in Tasmania especially given the amount of rain we’ve had. They hadn’t sped up by my last game on Saturday but I’m sure they would have today and will have by tomorrow.”
Another all Tasmanian combination to take the green is the father/son combination of Ross Bannister & Peter Bannister (both Derwent City). They face G McTaggart & R Thorn of New Zealand in their first match and are feeling good heading into tomorrow according to Peter; “We are feeling fine, we don’t have any pressure on us, just taking it as another game but are looking forward to playing again.” With no pressure and such a great opportunity the Bannister combination don’t have any major goals, “We haven’t got a goal of a round to reach, and it would just be great to make it through all three games tomorrow.” There is a romanticism of playing with family but sometimes they can get on your nerves quickly, not so with this pairing, “Dad and I play together a fair bit. We know each other’s game and we like to play together. We sometimes disagree with what shots to play but in the end it’s always good to play with him being family.” I currently work with Peter’s Mum and when I heard her holiday was to the Gold Coast I was worried that she would prefer to be sightseeing then playing bowls! “My mum and my partner are happy that we have done so well in the championships. Making the final 16 in the Fours and for getting as far as we have in the pairs. It hasn’t been all bowls while we have been here. We have been out sightseeing, shopping and visiting family that lives in QLD as well.” I can rest easy then!
Our fifth Tasmanian player is Lee Schraner (Rosny Park) who is playing with Geoff Maskell. They take on B Lamberton (Qld) & J Attard (Vic). There are three games scheduled for tomorrow, let’s hope we see all 5 players still alive at the end of the day!
By David Genford