Australian Open 2021 – Day 1 wrap

by Val Febbo

Four Commonwealth Games gold medalists, Wayne Turley OAM, Kelvin Kerkow OAM, Rob Parrella and Aaron Wilson headline the list of sectional winners from the opening day of the $250,500 Australian Open competition.

Among the others to secure passage include two State and Territory Association CEOs, Ken Pride and Greg Helm from Bowls WA and Bowls NSW respectively.

Kerkow accounted for Western Australian Ryan Havercroft 21-7 before a tight tussle saw him emerge with a 21-18 triumph over Raymond Asquith and finally overcoming John Williams 21-5.

Aaron Wilson returned to the city of his ultimate accolade earned in 2018 and was dominant, dropping only 30 shots in his three encounters, with Turley himself boasting a plus 29 shot count for the afternoon.

In other sections Jackaroo Carl Healey held on to his sectional win on shot difference with a minor hiccup against Queenslander Scott Chamberlain, who conquered the new South Welshman 21-15 in the second round.

Healey would hold off Kurri Kurri’s Glen Raymond by 16 in the score differential.

Melbourne Pulse BPL teammates Barrie Lester and Gary Kelly both emerged through their respective sections unblemished, while Perth Suns alumni Ray Pearse and Cody Packer accounted for their opposition to move on.

Kelly and Lester both conceded a mere 29 shots for the day, while Pearse was dominant only dropping 26.

Rob Parella held on via shot differential after suffering a loss to Tweed Heads Bowling Club’s Joe Franzi 21-12 in the final round robin clash, while Chris Le Lievre, the recent Australian Championships men’s pairs silver medallist, also progressed.

2018 Australian Indoor Championships winner David Ferguson, former Australian and South African cricketer Kepler Wessels and Aero Bowls CEO Walter Jacobs were among the players from 86 sections that weren’t able to secure direct passage to the knockout rounds.

Ferguson, who finished on two wins and +17 shots, will remain hopeful of collecting one of the next best qualifier positions, confirmed after the conclusion of the men’s singles sectional rounds on Monday evening.

The 2021 Australian Open will be staged across the Gold Coast from June 12-25, courtesy of support from Tourism and Events Queensland and City of Gold Coast.