2022 Commonwealth Games: Day 8 wrap

by Lachlan Williams

Australia will bring home at least one more bowls medal from Leamington Spa after some solid performances on the penultimate day of play at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The para mixed pairs gave it their all in their bronze medal playoff against England, but fell just short of collecting a medal.

The women’s pairs was probably the story of the day, with best friends Ellen Ryan and Kristina Krstic winning both their quarter and semi finals to book a place in Saturday’s final.

Aaron Wilson was pushed in his men’s singles semi, but also advanced to compete on the final day of play.

Check out how each discipline fared below.

Para Mixed Pairs

After a more than solid week on the Leamington Spa greens, Helen Boardman, Peter Doherty (director) Jake Fehlberg and Matthew Northcott (director) will walk away without a medal after a loss in their bronze playoff.

The para mixed pairs side took on England in the decider, with the Aussies getting the better of them by three shots earlier in the week.

The Jackaroos were more than competitive, holding a slender one-shot lead halfway through the contest, before the home nation pulled away.

Five shots in the space of three ends gave England a crucial 10-6 lead after 10 ends. But just as they had done all week, the Australians showed their fighting spirit to work their way back within one shot.

A three on the penultimate end for the English proved the difference in the end, eventually winning by three shots.

“I think it’s a bit disappointing, we still gave it a fair crack. We had chances to win all the games, I think we put in a good effort,” Fehlberg said.

Northcott was a late inclusion to the squad, stepping in to replace Jake’s father Grant as his director.

“The guys can be super proud of their efforts. They were right in the hunt to have that medal around their necks,” he said.

“Doesn’t change the fact they were very good performers and very good sportsmanship throughout, they should be very proud.”

Doherty was full of praise for Boardman, who is still relatively new to bowls.

“For a bowler that has only been bowling for three years to bring it to this level has been magnificent,” he said.

Bronze medal playoff: def by England 11-14

Women’s Pairs

Australia will add another medal – silver or gold – to its bowls tally from the 2022 Games after the women’s pairs team won through to the final.

Ellen Ryan and Kristina Krstic started the day with a quarter final against Norfolk Island, a contest that proved a difficult one.

Shae Wilson was superb in her lead position to put plenty of pressure on the Aussie duo, but they were up to the task to advance with a 19-12 win.

The victory set up a semi final battle with Malaysia.

The Jackaroos went bowl for bowl with their opponents, despite being unable to capitalise significantly on the scoreboard.

Malaysia led 6-1 after six ends, but managed just one multiple in that run with the Aussies keeping with them.

After a few ones of their own, the Aussies broke the dam wall with a three on the ninth end to level things at 6-6.

They would continue to edge away slightly, with the lead never extending beyond three.

The 15th end proved a decisive one in the context of the match. With Australia leading 10-8, Malaysia held two shots to potentially bring the game level with three ends to play.

Ryan had one bowl to work her way into a very tight head, but managed to play the perfect bowl to go from two down to one up and hold onto a crucial three shot lead.

The closing ends were incredibly tense, but the Jackaroos held their nerve to hold onto a three-shot win and progress to the final.

Krstic played her role as lead to perfection, while Ryan converted in the biggest of moments.

“They’re (Malaysia) definitely world class players so we knew it was going to be a tough one,” Ryan said.

“Krissy just played amazing. She always had plenty of bowls in the head for me. She kept me really calm and cool, so lucky to have her support.”

They will face off against England in the final on Saturday morning, with the English side taking down New Zealand in their semi.

QF: def Norfolk Island 19-12

SF: def Malaysia 13-10

Final schedule: Saturday, August 6 @ 8.30am v England. Watch live on 7Plus.

Men’s Singles

Aaron ‘Disco’ Wilson continues to hunt down back-to-back singles gold medals, after a hard-fought quarter final win on Friday.

Taking on host-nation favourite Jamie Walker, Wilson had his work cutout for him early, dropping the first seven shots of the match.

He responded in the best way possible, collecting 13 shots of his own in five ends to take a six-shot lead.

Walker chipped his way back into the game, but Wilson managed to score heavily on ends, taking his score from nine to 19 with two threes and a four.

Ahead 20-13, Walker clung for survival to send nerves through the crowd, but Wilson’s composure shone through to take a 21-16 victory.

“It certainly wasn’t the optimal start, but sometimes you’ve got to do it tough. It was exciting to get the win in the end,” Wilson said.

Wilson will take on Scotland’s Iain McLean in the semi final, after McLean dispatched Canada’s Ryan Bester 21-4 in his own quarter final.

QF result: def/by Jamie Walker (England) 21-16

Semi final schedule: Saturday, August 6 @ 12am v Iain McLean (Scotland)

Final/bronze medal playoff schedule: Saturday, August 6 @ 4.30pm v Malaysia or Northern Ireland. Watch live on 7Plus.