Our three history makers and our Para Triples claim Gold!
Parella, Kerkow, Dobbins, Murphy, Schuback, Fehlberg, Cottrell, Jacobsen, Seymour, Johnston, Curtis, Armitage, Shaw, you could keep going with more names, twenty five Australians in total, all have won one Commonwealth Games Gold Medal. What about the names of those that have won two? There are only three, Carla Krizanic, Natasha Scott & Rebecca Van Asch. These golden girls have achieved what no-one else has and they did it in the one Commonwealth Games. I have said it in a previous article, the armchair fans think Australia should dominate this sport, but Gold Medals are hard to win, harder than most expect. In fact, this is the first time that Australia has won gold in the Women’s Triples. These girls have won 14 matches straight and done so with sportsmanship, a great team ethic and a joy an enthusiasm that has been unrivalled. They have all bowled so well and played some wonderful bowls when needed. Krizanic has been the ultimate lead, always building a head for her team mates, Scott has shown her ability to draw, drive or convert whilst Van Asch has been able to do what was needed as the skip, calling the right shots, keeping the team energised and playing the big bowls when needed. It was great to watch and a sight to see, when a Tasmanian bowler gets to stand on the podium and listen to the Australian anthem, for a second time!
But it wasn’t just the Women’s triples that took centre stage today. Our Para Triples team of Josh Thornton, Tony Bonnell & Ken Hanson held their nerve and ensured the Jacksroos would find themselves with 4 Gold and 1 Silver after the completion of 7 of the 10 events. Let’s focus on their game first. Their opponents were New Zealand and they jumped out to win the first two ends and lead 2-0. It was then Australia’s turn to shine, winning the next three ends to jump out to a 7-2 lead. Ken Hanson, who is the oldest Australian athlete at these Commonwealth Games, was on fire early. He was converting heads when down and drawing shots when needed and Australia lead 10-3 after 7 ends. The 8th end would show that this games was far from over as New Zealand picked up a 5 and it was game on and the pressure was back on. The Australians took back the advantage and at 12-9 after 11, there was a chance they could start to run away with the game. The Kiwis had other ideas. Three successive ends saw them take the lead for the first time in the game, 13-12 with one end to go. Australia would have the last bowl but needed a shot to force an extra end. Before Hanson’s last bowl, Australia held one, a gold medal was on the offering with his last bowl. And Hanson would cope with the pressure beautifully, drawing to within a foot, Thornton & Bonnell were over the moon and it was Gold to Australia! A clean sweep of the Para Sport events at the Lawn Bowls.
Now we return back to the Women’s Triples. The morning started with a Semi Final against England. A 7-0 lead after four ends was the perfect start and England found it very difficult to get into the game. At 11-3 the game looked over but England did start to find some range and won 6 of the next 7 ends to being the score back to level. Could this be an end to the Australians run? (well if you read the first paragraph you’d know it wasn’t!) Consecutive 2’s gave the Australians a 4 shot lead heading in to the last end, a lead that wouldn’t be caught. That now set up a final against Scotland who had defeated Canada 19-7.
When you play a final at any level, all you want is to get off to a good start. I’d say 9-1 after 5 ends would make anyone happy. All three players showed some great form and were making it tough for the Scottish team to make shots, in fact the one they got was when Australia held three and the Scottish skip got a touch of luck with weight to claim the shot. In previous games, the opposition had fought back to make the game close. But this Australian team didn’t allow that to happen. On one end Van Asch was four down but was instructed by Scott to hit one of the two shorter Australian bowls. That she did and with a touch of luck, she got to see one of Krizanic’s bowls spin around for shot, a great setback for the Scottish team. It wasn’t something they would ever recover from, 18-9, 20-12 with one end to go, this was a comfortable win thanks to the fact all three bowlers played consistently strong bowls for the remainder of the game. These three bowlers can walk off the greens with their heads held high. It was 4 and a half years ago that Van Asch found out she wouldn’t be playing in the 2012 Glasgow games, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to even keep playing bowls and now she has three world championships and two Commonwealth Games Gold Medals under her belt. The state of Tasmania is proud of her efforts, in fact she would be 18th on the Medal Tally if she was her own country!
Other games were played today, believe it or not. Let’s have a look at how the rest of the Jackaroos fared;
Aaron Wilson took on Gary Kelly from Northern Ireland in the quarter final stage of the event. Wilson was on fire early, losing one of the first nine ends (and that was a 4 to Kelly), to lead 15-4. Kelly would stage a mini fight back to get it to 15-9 but Wilson would not allow Kelly to score again, winning 21-9. Wilson will now play England’s Robert Paxton. Paxton has lost one game in, during the sectional play to Jamaican bowler Andrew Newell. But two victories over New Zealand bowler Shannon McIlroy, including 21-16 in the Quarter Finals, sees him now facing up against our Australian bowler. The other Semi Final will see Canadian (but almost honorary Australian) Ryan Bester take on defending champion Darren Burnett of Scotland.
Kelsey Cottrell & Karen Murphy faced Scotland in their quarter final. It would be Scotland who would jump out to the early start leading 9-1 after 5 ends. Things didn’t look good but slowly Australia got their way back in to the game. So much so that with one end to play, Australia were only 2 shots behind with one end to go. Australia held shot but couldn’t do enough to get the second vital shot, a one shot loss consigning the Australian team to the edge of the greens. Unfortunately for Murphy, there would be no medal in her 5th games, for Cottrell she could celebrate her Gold Medal form the Fours.
The Men’s Fours had three games to play today. They started by easily accounting for South Africa in their remaining sectional match, which was virtually a knock out encounter due to their earlier loss against India. The end score was 27-6 but with India also winning, the random draw would see Australia drawn against one of the sectional winners. That team would be Northern Ireland, who were undefeated including defeating Malaysia 17-8. Australia started well for the first six ends breaking away to a 7-2 lead. Norther Ireland would then win four consecutive singles to bring the margin back to 1. Three’s to both teams kept the margin to 1 but Australia would win the last three ends to secure a spot in the Semi Finals. That Semi Final would be against Wales. They had beaten India 17-15, saving Australia from having to face their nemesis again. In the sectional play, Wales had lost to New Zealand by 1 shot. In the Semi Final, a 7-0 start showed that the Australian team meant business and the fact Wales never got above 7 is proof enough that the Australian four were on form. They have guaranteed themselves a Silver Medal after the final score of 15-5 and will now play Scotland in the final, a team boasting players such as Paul Foster & Alex Marshall. It should be a cracking encounter!
TV Rink schedule for 13th April
Women’s Pairs – Gold Medal Match – South Africa vs Malaysia
Women’s Pairs – Bronze Medal Match – Scotland vs Canada
Men’s Fours – Gold Medal Match – Australia vs Scotland
Men’s Fours – Bronze Medal Match – England vs Wales
Men’s Singles – Gold Medal Match – ????
Men’s Singles – Bronze Medal Match – ????
Men’s Singles Semi Final – Australia vs England
Men’s Singles Semi Final – Canada vs Scotland
It’s almost a shame that tomorrow is the final day, but it has been a great week and a half of Bowls and we wish everyone still remaining the best of luck. And I hope that our successful teams can go out and celebrate their success!
By David Genford