Aussie big guns come out firing
The Australian Jackaroos members are on track at the Australian Open Some of Australia’s best, including all of the team set to take on New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman series next month, have staked their claim on this year’s singles title after decisive victories in the first round of men’s singles action at the 2014 Australian Open.
Improving conditions after a wet morning provided the ideal backdrop for what has been an entertaining morning at the southern hemisphere’s richest bowls event.
2009 Australian Open champion and Trans-Tasman team member Brett Wilkie took no time at all to breeze through the first round, racing to a clinical 21-0 victory – escaping his 2013 fate when he fell at the first hurdle.
It took Wilkie, a nominee for Bowl’s Australia’s Male Bowler of the Year award and a pre-tournament favourite, just half an hour to dispose of David Duguid from the Northern Territory.
Keeping his opponent scoreless, Wilkie won the match in just nine ends to stroll into the second round and will now face Queenslander Neville Wood-Bradley who defeated Matt Blackburn 21-6.
Wilkie’s Australian teammate Nathan Rice has also advanced following a 21-17 win over Tasmanian Under-18 Male Bowler of the Year finalist Michael Sims.
Sims, who claimed the massive scalp of Aron Sherriff in the 2013 event, held Rice on 20 for four ends but was unable to stop him from scoring the final shot to secure victory.
Rice, a potential member of Australia’s team to travel to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, has never won the event with his best result being defeat in the 2012 final to Mark Casey.
It took upcoming Trans Tasmanian men’s singles representative Aron Sherriff a little over an hour to get his first win on the board, as he looks to add a second Australian Open trophy to his collection.
While his opponent, Victorian Joshua Sanders, raced to a 6-0 lead after two ends, including an opening end full count, Sherriff quickly stamped his authority on the match winning the final nine ends to secure a 21-12 victory.
Sherriff, a two-time International Bowler of the Year award winner and finalist for the 2014 award, will now play the winner of Brad Ball and Dave Rankin.
Matthew Flapper needed almost two hours to join his Jackaroos teammates in the second round, as he took a 21-14 win over Ian Whybrow.
A full count on the 22nd end helped Flapper to pull ahead of his opponent- but it took him three more ends to score the final shot.
The final member of the open Trans-Tasman squad, Wayne Ruediger didn’t even play an end as his opponent forfeited.
Ruediger, picked to play triples and fours against New Zealand, will face Mark Pickworth at 8:30am tomorrow morning.
A member of the Development squad to take on the Blackjacks, Matthew Baus came back from a slow start to defeat Scott DeJongh Fitzpatrick 21-13 in a touch over an hour.
Some three shot ends, and five off the final three ends, helped Baus take the victory over his opponent from Queensland.
While not a member of next month’s Trans-Tasman squad, world number one and two-time men’s singles champion Leif Selby was another big name to benefit from a forfeit after his first-round opponent Malaysian qualifier Muhammed Azwin Suhaimi conceded the match without taking to the green.
Selby is looking to become the first bowler to win the blue ribbon men’s singles title three times.
The second round of men’s singles action begins at 8:30am Monday, 17 February at Darebin International Sports Centre.
Article provided to bowlsaustralia.com.au by Skye McTavish.
Caption: Nathan Rice is leading the charge for the Australian Jackaroos