Van Asch qualifies for World Cup Post Sectionals
Tasmania’s Rebecca Van Asch has been representing Australia at the World Cup of Bowls this week. She has played 9 games in Section 1 against some of the best players in the World with 20 players being separated into two sections of 10. Van Asch came up against players from Malaysia, Scotland, Fiji, Malta, Singapore, Macao, Canada, Thailand & Guernsey. Van Asch played in this event last year, due to her winning the Australian Indoor title in back to back years, making the final before losing to Guernsey’s Lucy Beere (who is in Section 2). If you win your section you go straight into the Semi Final, if you finish 2nd or 3rd then you will go into a playoff for a spot in the Semi Final. Let’s see how Van Asch fared.
Van Asch would have a comfortable win against Thailand’s Patsorn Bryant 16-3, 14-6 before suffering a straight sets loss to Malta’s Connie Rixon 1-9, 6-7. This loss put Van Asch on the back foot with Malaysia & Malta the only two players to win their first two matches. Van Asch got back on the right track with a straight set victory over Carla Banks of Scotland before a draw and a set win was enough to defeat Shermeen Lim of Singsapore, the second and deciding set being 13-1. It was then that Van Asch’s luck took a turn for the worse. An unexpected loss against Hilda Tam of Macao, in straight sets to boot dropped Van Asch down the ladder. With sets being the first tie break any set loss or win could prove crucial. Malaysia’s Siti Zalina Ahmad was sitting on top of the ladder and would be Van Asch’s next opponent. Ahmad would take the first set 9-5 and a 7-7 draw would give the game to Malaysia and give Van Asch back to back defeats. This now put Van Asch back to 7th despite only being one game out of 7th, set wins would be crucial to moving up the ladder. A straight sets win against Guernsey’s number 2 entry (the defending champion get an automatic entry, therefore Guernsey get 2 entries) Rose Ogier 8-4 10-6 put Van Asch within touching distance of the top 3. Due to matchups in Round 8, a victory against the higher ranked Fiji would see Van Asch back into the top 3 and a spot in the post sectional rounds. Van Asch would lose the first set 14-6 and it looked like the chance to go one better than last year was over. But Van Asch dug deep and won the second set 9-4. A tie-break would now decide if it would be Australia or Fiji in the top 3, a 3-1 win to Van Asch put destiny in her own hands. Her last match against Canada’s Josephine Lee was a virtual play off, one that Van Asch would handle with aplomb. 10-7 & 10-3 would be enough to ensure a top three spot and with Malaysia (1st) & Scotland (2nd) also winning, Van Asch would not move higher than 3rd spot.
Van Asch will now take on South Africa’s Colleen Piketh with the winner moving on to the Semi Final. Van Asch has never played against Piketh in Singles but if she can win this one, a spot against Jo Edwards awaits in the Semi Final, an opponent very well known to the Australian contingent supporting Van Asch. Let’s hope that a Van Asch Edwards match does take place!
Van Asch was kind enough to pass on some words after her 9th round encounter. When asked how it felt to get through the sectional play, “I’m definitely relieved to make it through to the playoffs. It’s been a tough week and it’s had its ups and downs. The standard from everyone has been terrific so I’ve had to work hard for every shot.” Half way through the sectional play and in 7th place, surely doubts started to creep in? “It was looking a bit scary there for a while with where I was positioned in the section. But it’s a long journey and everyone often knocks each other out, so I knew I just had to stay focussed and only worry about what I could control and try and win my remaining games. So it’s great to have been able to do that and get through.” For Van Asch this has been a big year with the birth of Alexis and time away from bowls, I was keen to hear how this joyous time off had impacted on her form that sees her currently ranked one in the country, “It’s been an adventure this week and a very different experience having my little girl here on tour with me. Alexis is 12 weeks old so it’s been pretty full on juggling her and competition. She’s enjoying some quality Daddy/Daughter time while I’m on the green though. I would be very grateful if she chose to sleep a little more at night though! Haha! This is my first major event since returning from maternity leave and it’s great to be back. I’ve been back bowling for about 6 weeks, after a slow recovery so there’s still a little way to go before I’m back where I want to be, but I’m getting there. I’m really proud of what I’ve done so far and I’ll work hard and see what happens from here.”
All of the bowlers from Tasmania and I’m sure Australia will be cheering Bec on! Three more games to crown the champion, let’s hope that Van Asch can be the one who wins those three games!
By David Genford