Strong start for NSW in Bendigo
The opening round of the 2013 Australian Sides Championships threw up the usual combination of expected and surprise results when the battle for the Alley Shield and Marj Morris Trophy got underway this morning at the Bendigo Bowls Club in central Victoria.
NSW, the 2011 men’s champions and last year’s runners-up, began the quest to win the title back emphatically with a clean sweep of their three rinks in the morning’s session against the Northern Territory.
With one rink skipped by newly crowned International Bowler of the Year Aron Sherriff, another by Mark Casey, who took out the Male Bowler of the Year Award on Saturday night and the third by current Australian squad member Shane Garvey, the ‘Blues’ men were expected win and did with Sherriff’s rink winning 34-10, Casey’s 27-10 while Garvey’s rink picked up one shot on the final end to square up their match 18-18 after the required 21 ends.
Sherriff’s rink of lead Matthew Baus, second Terry Antram and third Wayne Turley conceded the first seven shots on the opening two ends before stringing together the next 24 shots to come away with dominant win in cool conditions.
Their female counterparts, skipped by three gold medal winning Jackaroos from the World Championships in Kelsey Cottrell, Natasha Van Eldik and world number two Karen Murphy also won their three matches 29-10, 25-14 and 40-6 respectively.
Murphy has made an early claim for the women’s top skipped rink in the tournament courtesy of her teams dominate 34 shot victory.
Queensland went into day one lunch interval with a mixed bag of results against the ACT across their men’s and women’s teams with the defending Alley Shield title-holders winning all three rinks while the female teammates produced the complete opposite outcome.
The Queensland men welcomed back 2006 Commonwealth Games singles gold medalist Kelvin Kerkow after a two-year sabbatical from donning the maroons shirt and the Kerkow skipped rink won 25-14 while the Nathan Rice and Alex Murtagh skipped rinks had the better of the bowlers from the ACT winning 28-14 and 25-11.
The first major surprise of the 2013 edition of the Australian Sides came in the form of the ACT women who completely outclassed their Queensland opponents with their three rinks winning 23-13, 27-17 and 28-22 respectively in a team that boasts Australian captain Lynsey Clarke (Armitage) and Natasha Jones, the Queensland young gun who made history earlier in the year as the first ever bowler to win all four Queensland junior state titles in the same year.
From a local perspective, the host-state Victorian’s cut a swathe through their six rinks of men’s and women’s action against Tasmania with a clean-sweep of all games, with the most damaging to the overall result for the Tasmanians being the Graeme Archer skipped rink winning by 26 shots 34-8 while the star-studded rink of Dylan Fisher, Aaron Wilson, Barrie Lester and Matthew Flapper proved too strong in their encounter 23-13.
On the women’s side, Samantha Shannahan’s needed at least four shots on the final end and found them against a team skipped by Rebecca Quail as they were trailing 17-20 to fall across the line by one shot, 21-20.
The afternoon round of action on day 1 sees South Australia and Northern Territory doing battle while Western Australia play New South Wales, the ACT to fight against Victoria and rounding out the days play is the match between Queensland and Tasmania.
Click here for full results of round 1