Medal guaranteed for Van Asch, Men’s Triples win Silver
In a day of bowls that was both entertaining and enthralling, Australia has won through to another Gold Medal match, the Women’s Fours, whilst taking Silver at its first attempt in the Men’s Triples. Both games were played of a high standard where both teams pushed each other but of course there can only be one winner.
The Women’s Fours took on Canada and it turned out to be a very low scoring match. 19 shots in 16 ends, with both teams winning 8 ends, but the Australians were to gain the upper hand. The shot of the match was on the last end of regular play, where skip Natasha Scott took on the shot to try and kill the end, which she successfully did. Despite losing the end, she prevented Canada from picking up two shots, which they held before her drive. The last end saw Australia take the advantage thanks to Kelsey Cottrell & Carla Krizanic’s solid bowls, with Tasmanian’s Rebecca Van Asch was asked to cover, which she did admirably. The Canadian skip, Leanne Chinery, tried to draw the shot with her last bowl and despite having exceptional weight, she was too wide and the Australian’s were guaranteed a silver medal at worst but a chance at gold. As that last bowl came down I wondered how Van Asch was feeling, “It’s awful when you can’t do anything but sit back and watch. I felt so dry in the mouth waiting to see what that bowl did!” Whilst watching the game it was obvious to see that Van Asch and Scott have a very strong relationship and they work well together to decide what shot to play, “Tash and I have a great understanding of each other, we’ve played together so much. We play together a lot in reverse as well. We just discuss things fully and I back her 100% to get the shot she’s confident on.” With one game to go for the girls in this discipline, how the team prepares each night and before the crucial match can be key, “We do have a bit of a routine happening. We have our recovery sessions etcetera of a night and a bit of downtime. We’re so lucky that we all get along really well off the green so we have a bit of fun together which helps relax us. Our routine is a little different tomorrow because Kelsey has her first pairs section game at 9am with Karen (Murphy) before our fours final at midday (editor’s note – it’s actually 12:15, I hope they know that!). Thanks to Rebecca Van Asch for giving up some of her time on the eve of the Gold Medal match.
The Men’s Triples had to play two games in a day but were never troubled in their first encounter. A 12-1 lead after 7 ends against Canada was never going to be seriously challenged and the final score of 20-5 was a true indication of the dominance the Australian team had over their rivals. The true test would be to come in the Final. A Scotland team featuring skip Darren Burnett, the 2014 Singles Gold medallist had failed to drop a game heading into the last match whilst Australia had slipped up in the first match against Jersey. The match was of the highest quality, with neither team gaining more than a 3 shot advantage. Whilst the Australian team played well, the back end of the Scottish team was simply outstanding. Darren Burnett was brilliant, with one spectator claiming it was the best individual game they had seen. But others who had watched claimed that the Scottish two, Derek Oliver, was the man of the match. Aron Sherriff played some strong conversion shots and helped to create 3 shots on the 16th end, which gave the Australian team the lead with 2 ends to play. Burnett was not to be outdone, with only the jack to aim at, Burnett drove and hit it as clean as a whistle giving them 3 crucial shots. With the jack in the ditch, Sheriff had room to draw the shot, which he did (although he only just stayed on the green) but Burnett simply drove again, took out the shot bowl and gave his team a two shot lead heading in to the last end which would extend to five shots but Australia were going for the win, a one shot or five shot loss is still a silver medal. For Barrie Lester & Sherriff this was their second Commonwealth Games medal and for Nathan Rice his third medal, but all players are still yet to taste the success of gold.
The other two Australian matches for the day were in the Para sport events with both teams facing Wales. In the Pairs, our Australian team continued their strong performance making it 3 wins from 4 matches with an 18-6 win. The win kept the team on top of their section after 4 rounds, just in front of South Africa. Tomorrow they will take on Scotland, if they win they will finish on top of the section. A loss of less than 16 will see them finish 2nd at worst, they really have set themselves up quite well heading in to the last round.
The Triples also had a win, the score line being 22-12 but they do not find themselves on top of their section, they are actually third despite only losing one game. The game tomorrow against New Zealand is basically the start of the Knock Out matches, one game before they should have started. If England loses against Wales, the Winner of Australia and New Zealand will finish on top of the section, if England wins, the winner will finish 2nd. It may be important to know that a draw is good enough for New Zealand not Australia.
Away from the Australian games some other medals were handed out. The Men’s Triples team from Norfolk Island won bronze, only the second time a team from Norfolk Island has won a medal in Lawn Bowls and the first time a male team will step on to the podium. In fact, it’s only the second ever medal for Norfolk Island in any sport following Carmen Anderson’s bronze in 1994!
The Women’s singles was also run and won with New Zealand’s Jo Edwards walking away with the Gold Medal. Edwards makes it back to back after winning in Glasgow four years ago. She won 21-17 against Welsh player Laura Daniels who had led 12-8 and 17-13 but couldn’t stop Edwards winning 8 shots on the last 4 ends.
The bronze medal went to Colleen Piketh who had yesterday eliminated Karen Murphy in the quarter finals. This is also back to back for Piketh who wad the 2014 bronze medallist & 2014 Gold medallist in the Pairs. Piketh beat Canadian Kelly McKerihen 21-17.
Now we move on to tomorrow. We are back to eight games available to be live streamed (please don’t rely on free to air coverage, if it’s on it will have ads, but please be thankful for the online service. This is more bowls than we have ever been able to see before). The only Australian team to play will be the Gold medal encounter in the Women’s Fours vs South Africa (Editor’s note – Is it too soon to suggest the yellow tape on Natasha Scott’s leg might be sandpaper).
TV Rink Games for 9th April
Men’s Pairs Gold Medal Match Scotland vs Wales
Men’s Pairs Bronze Medal Match Malta vs Cook Islands
Women’s Fours Gold Medal Match Australia vs South Africa
Women’s Fours Bronze Medal Match Canada vs Malta
Men’s Singles – Daniel Salmon (Wales) vs Petrus Breitenbach (South Africa)
Women’s Triples – England vs Northern Ireland
Men’s Fours – Wales vs Papua New Guinea
Men’s Singles – Krishna Xalxo (India) vs Robert Paxton (England)
Whilst we do see the start of new disciplines tomorrow with the Women’s Pairs, Men’s Fours & Men’s Singles all getting under way. The Australian games are below;
Women’s Pairs vs Zambia
Para Pairs vs Scotland
Men’s Singles (Aaron Wilson) vs Cook Islands (Taiki Paniani)
Men’s Fours vs Botswana
Women’s Triples vs Papua New Guinea
Men’s Singles vs Malta (Brendan Aquilina)
Para Triples vs New Zealand
I’m still yet to see any standings of sectional play but I believe my Maths is right with the tables below. Wales play South Africa and could qualify if they win by 3 shots.
Australia 3-1 (+39)
South Africa 3-1 (+5)
Scotland 2-2 (+7)
Wales 2-2 (+1)
New Zealand 1-3
England 3-1-0 (+13)
New Zealand 3-0-1 (+36)
Australia 3-0-1 (+21)
South Africa 1-1-2 (+6)
Scotland 1-0-3 (-5)
Wales 0-0-4 (-71)
We wish all the Australians the best of luck tomorrow and in Tasmania we will have everything crossed for Rebecca Van Asch and her Australian team mates in the Fours Final!
By David Genford