Para Pairs claim Australia’s 2nd Gold, whilst Van Asch maintains unbeaten run
The Australian Jackaroos have won their 2nd Gold Medal of the campaign, thanks to the Para Mixed Pairs for those with vision impairment. Players Lynne Seymour & Jake Fehlberg were accompanied by their directors Bob Seymour & Grant Fehlberg and they were simply outstanding. They played a very strong South African duo who started slowly but fought hard to make a very good game of it. Seymour & Fehlberg both jumped out of the gates well, especially on the second end where they picked up a four. 9-1 after 6 ends was a fair reflection on the game, with Fehlberg playing some beautiful conversions and draw bowls, yet not breaking into a smile at any stage. Coach Kelvin Kerkow was smiling and loving the start of his team but the quality of the opposition meant they were never going to get an easy run to the Gold Medal. Over the next 6 ends, South Africa turned up the pressure, especially with their lead Nozipho Schroder playing exceptionally well, the margin was reduced to 2 shots with 3 ends to play. That 13th end would prove pivotal in my opinion. South Africa were holding multiple shots but Fehlberg played a weighted shot, picking up the bare jack and completely turning the end on his head. A valuable one shot gave them a three shot lead, which was key, as losing one in the penultimate end didn’t matter. Australia could play the last end defensively knowing that they just had to get bowls close. Seymour finished off a very strong game with a very close shot. South Africa has two seconds and a successful drive could have seen Fehlberg put under pressure with his last bowl, but it wasn’t to be and finally we could see a smile creep on to Fehlberg’s face.
This Commonwealth Games has been the first major event to treat both able bodied and para athletes equally and it has been amazing. The crowd that got behind our Para Pairs team would not have been present if this was a separate event, nor would we see live streaming of this final. But now we have seen it, and the quality of bowls that was on offer, it is hoped people will take a greater interest. I want Jake Fehlberg on Sunrise tomorrow, he was superb when it counted and all of our players deserve the same glory afforded to that of our successful Women’s Fours team. Lawn Bowls prides itself on being the sport for all, this event proved that it is.
Tasmania’s Rebecca Van Asch, continues to have a stellar tournament. With her team mates Carla Krizanic & Natasha Scott, they played their last round robin game against Fiji, knowing that top spot in the section was already secured. Despite this, the killer instinct still kicked in and a result of 24-9 followed against Fiji. A random draw of second place nations saw them draw Northern Ireland in the quarter finals. Now things were getting serious, a slip up could not be afforded here. But our girls were never going to allow that to happen. Consecutive fours on the first two ends created panic in the Northern Oreland camp as they knew an 8 shot handicap was going to be hard to overcome. Another four on the 9th end and a lead of 18-3 put the game beyond doubt, in fact if it was a softball game the mercy rule could have been invoked. The Final score would be 30-5, this team is focussed on one thing, they want to be the first Australian players to win two gold medals in our sport.
Their opponent in the Semi Finals will be England, who had a 16-11 victory over Wales.
Aaron Wilson had the day off in the Men’s Singles but did find out his opponent in the Quarter Finals. He will play Gary Kelly from Northern Ireland who only lost to Canadian player Ryan Bester in the sectional play. Kelly has previously won Bronze in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The winner of this game will play against either Shannon McIlroy (NZ) or Robert Paxton (Eng) an enthralling encounter of its own!
The Women’s Pairs team of Kelsey Cottrell & Karen Murphy had a successful day, defeating Papua New Guinea 29-7 and following that up with a 20-14 victory over England. At 8-8 after 9 ends, the game could have gone either way but the Australians finished strongly and ran away winners. The victory over England gave them the top spot in the section and the random draw sees them play Scotland in the Quarter Finals. Scotland only lost one game, to Malaysia 11-18. The winner will play the winner of England & South Africa in the Semi Finals.
The Men’s Fours team was the only Australian team to register a loss today. They played India, who performed very well and defeated our boys 19-15. Aron Sheriff played very well but was put under a lot of pressure during the game. In their second game they defeated Norfolk Island 24-10, which kept them in the hunt for a quarter final berth. Their remaining games are now basically knock out from here on in, Sherriff will need bowls in the head to ensure Australia gets to a medal game and hopefully a chance at Gold! They will now play South Africa, with the loser of this game being eliminated. A draw is good enough for Australia to progress. If Australia can win and Norfolk Island defeats India, Australia can still finish top of their section.
Last but far from least is our Para Triples team. They have guaranteed our Jackaroos another medal thanks to their Semi Final win. They defeated South Africa 15-7 and it was the start of the game that proved crucial with Australia picking up a four on the first end and winning the first four ends to lead 7-0. South Africa did fight back, bringing the score back to 9-7 but Australia picked up the last four ends to secure the win. They will take on New Zealand in the final, who defeated England 18-11. In sectional play, Australia defeated the Kiwis 16-11 but when the pressure is on, you never know what could happen!
Here are the televised games for tomorrow
Men’s Singles – New Zealand (Shannon McIlroy) vs England (Robert Paxton)
Men’s Singles – Australia (Aaron Wilson) vs Gary Kelly (Northern Ireland)
Para Triples – Gold Medal Match – Australia vs New Zealand
Para Triples – Bronze Medal Match – South Africa vs England
Women’s Triples Gold Medal match – ??? vs ???
Women’s Triples Bronze Medal match – ??? vs ???
Other Australian Matches
Women’s Pairs Quarter Final vs Scotland
Women’s Triples Semi Final vs England
Men’s Fours vs South Africa
MAYBE – Women’s Pairs Semi Final
MAYBE – Men’s Fours Quarter Final
MAYBE – Men’s Fours Semi Final
That’s all for now. Please share the link to this website, so that other scan follow the Jackaroos!
By David Genford