Brisbane Gold find Midas touch
Blackjacks, Roys and Suns also in first day success Brisbane Gold got their tournament off to a fine start, picking up two victories from three on the APL’s opening day. NZ Blackjacks, Perth Suns and Melbourne Roys also landed two wins but the highly fancied Sydney Lions went to bed with the points column empty.
The inaugural APL tournament started in bright sunshine, a splash of colour and some blistering bowls across three rinks this afternoon at Club Pine Rivers. Early markers were set down by Melbourne Roys as they took on the Blackjacks, with the stiff competition drew applause from the full house. In the end experience closed the deal and Jo Edwards’ Blackjacks ran out 3-7, 10-4, 1-0 winners on a tie-break. Losing skip, Dylan Fisher was pragmatic, “We picked the green up well but in the second set they found themselves a bit more and we went off.” Fisher was looking forward to taking on the star-studded Sydney Lions next, “Of course, that’s why I play the game.”
Sydney Lions faced local side Brisbane Gold in their first match. Aron Sheriff was in sparkling form helping the Lions to a 9-2 first set win. But Kelvin Kerkow and Robbie Wild silenced the roaring Lions, coming back 7-4 and taking the match on the one end tie-break.
Perth Suns’ team unity was on show as every good bowl was met with hi-fives and whoops, clearly getting in to the spirit of the new style contest. A close 6-3 win against Adelaide Endurance became even tighter as a tit for tat battle ensued, finally closing at 7-7, giving the chirpy Suns the win. Jeremy Henry from the Suns was excited by the game, “It offers something different, but we’ll see how it goes. It’s great playing undercover here, it’s magnificent, the whole place looks absolutely fantastic.”
Brisbane Gold were stopped in their tracks as an 8-0 first leg defeat to the Blackjacks gave them food for thought, a second leg 5-3 loss realigned many people’s views on who could win the inaugural tournament.
After the early defeat Melbourne Roys picked up points as they beat Perth Suns. A close 4-4 first set was followed by a more one-sided 10-5 win.
Adelaide Endurance bounced back from their earlier loss to beat Sydney Lions, 5-5, 11-3. Close again but the determination of the Endurance bodes well for the SA contingent.
Come 5pm and all eyes were on the APL Arena as NZ Blackjacks faced Perth Suns in the first televised game live from Pine Rivers got underway. A strong Kiwi opening saw Perth use their powerplay, but the team from WA only doubled a single point, and the Suns went down 7-2. A defiant second set victory, 9-4 lead to a tie break and one shot sealed the points for Perth.
Labelled by many as favourites, Sydney Lions took to the green after two defeats, an opening set 14-3 loss to Melbourne was unjust on Aron Sheriff who had played scintillating bowls all day. 7-3 in the second set to the Roys gave the Lions plenty to think about before tomorrow’s restart.
A tight opening set gave TV viewers plenty of entertainment as Gold took it 6-5 over Adelaide, yet the thrills kept coming. Leading through a 6 on the third end Kerkow and Wild kept the Endurance at arms length as they headed into the final end 9-4. With one bowl to go Gold coach Alex Murtagh added to the entertainment, a chorus of boos rang around the APL Arena as he produced the super sub sign and brought on Mark Casey for the popular Kerkow. But despite appearing to be the pantomime villain Murtagh, and the Gold team, got their overall tactics just right, wrapping up the game 6-5, 9-8.
The table is headed by NZ Blackjacks with Roys, Suns and Gold all on four points, the Endurance on 2 and Sydney Lions licking their wounds on zero.