Titleholders on song in Bendigo
Defending Alley Shield champions Queensland and Marj Morris Trophy holders NSW are again shaping up as likely contenders at this year’s Australian Sides Championships after extending their unbeaten run to three in the men’s and women’s events respectively.
The Victorian men stormed to the top of the leader board after the conclusion of the Australian Sides Championships’ opening day, but were left ruing after a third round loss to the Maroons, despite claiming two of the three rinks, relegating them to third position at the midway point.
Yarraville Footscray’s Wayne Roberts recorded a 16-13 over Helensvale’s Jackaroos member Nathan Rice, after sitting on equal pegging with two ends remaining, while the home state heroes picked up their second rink courtesy of Matthew Flapper’s 29-25 victory over Kelvin Kerkow OAM, however the margin wasn’t enough to clinch the match points, with Clayton’s Scottish international Graeme Archer suffering a 14-22 defeat to Queensland’s Alex Murtagh proving the catalyst for the Maroon’s 60-59 win.
The result may have been Victoria’s first loss, but the contingent still remains ripe to mount a fresh attack after last hoisting the Shield aloft over a decade ago, with three rink wins more their closest opponent; top of the ladder Queensland.
While Queensland have established themselves as the early front runners, NSW are also well in the mix to hunt down their sixth Alley Shield in a decade after finding themselves in a similar situation to the Maroons.
South Australia’s world champion Wayne Ruediger overcame recently crowned International Bowler of the Year Aron Sherriff 21-19, and former Australian A squad member Max Kleinig pipped national squad member Shane Garvey 26-13, but the Blues secured the overall honour, 59-58, after St Johns Park’s Male Bowler of the Year Mark Casey’s team accounted for the Croweaters’ Scott Thulborn 27-11.
In the women’s event, NSW have a firm grip on the coveted Marj Morris Trophy for the victorious overall women’s team.
With all three rinks skipped by 2012 World Champions; Kelsey Cottrell, Natasha Van Eldik and Karen Murphy, it is of little surprise to most that they campaign remains unblemished after three of the seven rounds.
Their three high scoring matches against Northern Territory in round one, 94-30, Western Australia in the second round, 81-40, and today’s win against South Australia 72-48 has them well placed to win the overall honours and retain the Marj Morris Trophy they won at Broadbeach last year.
In other women’s encounters, Tasmania suffered a comprehensive loss at the hands of ACT, with the Tigers yet to register their first victory, while the ACT are looming ominously in third place, just two rinks behind host state Victoria.
The Big V women suffered their first defeat in the third round, despite Jackaroos pair Carla Odgers and Lisa Phillips’ outfits powering past national captain Lynsey Armitage and Louise Witton, but were unable to steal after Queensland’s Tracy Foster made up the aggregate to give the maroons the overall points, 52-47.
The final round three women’s encounter saw an overall result win to Western Australia 56-35 over Northern Territory courtesy of a win across each of their three rinks with the largest margin of 10 belonging to the victory secured by the Sandgropers’ Kathy Gobbart.
The second session of play on day two of the competition sees South Australia pitted against the ACT, Western Australia squaring off against Queensland, Northern Territory locking horns against Victoria and New South Wales encountering Tasmania.
Rounds five and six of the Australian Sides Championships will be staged at 9.00am and 2.00pm on Wednesday, April 1 before the conclusion of play with round seven on Thursday morning.
Click here for more information and full results from the 2013 Australian Sides Championships at Bendigo Bowls Club.