First blood to U18s
Across the Ditch Challenge 2014, Musgrave Hill Bowls Club (Dec 9-11). Seven tests in three days. QLD U18 post first test win today, U25s go down to Auckland by just seven shots over six rinks. A Queensland U18 invitational squad has won five out of six rubbers in its opening “test” against Auckland (New Zealand) at Musgrave Hill Bowls Club (Gold Coast), winning 111 – 77.
The U25s were not so successful on paper, winning only two out of six rubbers, but the results were so close the test could have gone either way.
“Over six rinks, there was only seven shots in it (99-106),” BQ state high performance coach Bill Cornehls said.
This is the fourth annual Queensland V Auckland “Across the Ditch Challenge”.
The development series was developed by BQ’s Cornehls, with the enthusiastic support of Auckland coach Howard Sandler, to fill a gap in the market, and to identify talent for future Australian Sides teams.
There are six more tests at Musgrave Hill in the coming two days (Wed Dec 10 and Thurs Dec 11).
Each player will be tested over singles, pairs, triples, (six a side, six tests) and there will be a final seventh test in mixed pairs (Thurs, 3pm), to finish off the series before presentations.
The first Across the Ditch Challenge was played for experience, but in subsequent years, there has been an U18 and U25 Shield to record history.
The two sides rotate home and away games and play during the second week of December each year.
“The idea of the contest is to develop young talent, and trial different combinations in a pressure “test” setting,” Cornehls said.
The first test was played today (Tues Dec 9).
Test 2 kicks off at 9am tomorrow (Wed Dec 10), Test 3 at 12.15pm, Test 4 at 3pm.
On Thursday, Test 5 is at 9am, Test 6 at 12.15pm, and a seventh “Mixed Pairs” test at 3pm, followed by presentations.
UNDER 18 BOYS
The Under 18 boys took advantage of their familiarity with Gold Coast greens to stack up a few points against their Auckland rivals.
“It’s a very different surface, we struggle at first on theirs, they struggle at first on ours, they play on a weed that they keep moist, and it runs faster than our greens when it’s damp, our greens are slower, would you believe, and they’re very different to draw on, they run at a totally different pace, so the first tests are always an adjustment for the away side,” state high performance coach Bill Cornehls said.
“Having said that, the U18 boys should be well pleased with both their tactics and the results.”
Dale McWhinney-Shillington from the bowling dynasty of the same name foxed with his Auckland counterpart Jess Russell.
Jess liked a shorter length, Dale liked the longer length, but Dale was able to get more bowls in the area at the longer lengths, and managed to minimise his losses on the shorter ends, to win Boys U18 singles first test for the home side, 21-10.
In the U18 boys pairs, first test, Nathan Wilson led for experienced Windsor skip Daniel Keogh, getting plenty of bowls in the head early on, and when he didn’t, the wily Keogh was able to wend a bowl in there, to take the end, and the test, 25-10, from Auckland’s Aiden takarua and Jeremy Brosnan.
In the U18 boys triples, first test, Jacob Nelson (Cleveland), Liam Stephan (Booval Swifts), and skip Mitchell Mears (Algester) also won, by the same sort of margin, 25-11.
The boys had a slow start, playing conservatively and without their usual magic, but around the sixth end, they picked up five, and there was no stopping them, they found their flow, against NZ’s Brayden Silby, Liam Van Rijn and Clayton Hockley.
Tiffany Murray was first to play singles for the girls, a bit nervous to be first in the limelight.
“Tiffany doesn’t play a lot of singles up Miriam Vale way but she’ll take a lot out of her encounter today, and everyone will have their turn, that’s why it’s a development test series, so we can mix experienced with those on the fringe, and see how they grow,” state coach Bill Cornehls said.
The girls lost the first test singles rubber 8-21 to Auckland’s Ashleigh Jeffcoat.
However, their pair, Brittanny Wiley (Binjour) and Jessie Cottell (Broadbeach) hung on to take the rubber by one shot, 16-15, against Auckland’s Antonia Victor and Cait Bassett.
“It was really a game of two halves, Queensland won the first half, Auckland won the second half, but the girls hung on, Jessie is new to skipping so it was a great experience for her, and the girls worked well together,” Cornehls said.
In the U18 triples for girls, Rebecca Rixon (Club Kawana), Jacinta Weier (Urangan) and Sophie Young (Capalaba) combined well to make it 5 out of 6 rubbers for Queensland U18s in the first test.
“26 shots in a game of 18 ends is very tight,” Cornehls said of the final 16-10 scoreline, against Auckland’s Alex Greer, Mackenzie Blucher and Sophie Fisher.
Jindalee ace Cohen Litfin drew a daunting first card, pitched against NZ Blackjacks squad member and current NZ U25 national singles champion Greg Ruaporo in today’s first test.
“It was a very close game, it was 19-19, then 20-20, then Ruaporo stuck the killer blow, 21-20, it’s a bitter pill, to lose by one shot,” Cornehls said.
“Cohen had done enough to win the game.”
Litfin held shot on the final end, including after his final bowl, but then Ruaporo delivered himself a Get Out of Jail Free card, an impressive homing device delivery snatching the end and the singles rubber, 21-20.
“Cohen will take a lot out of this test for his future, that he overcame his nerves and came so close to beating a national champion and national squad member,” Cornehls said.
Brendan Wilson and Jason Carpenter played pairs in the first test for Queensland, winning 20-16, against NZ’s Rory Soden and Scott Mouton.
Paul Kajewski, Ben Sawa (ex Wynnum Manly and now greenkeeper at Musgrave Hill), and Nic Gosley went down, 11-18, to Auckland’s ciaran MacElvana, Scott Evans and Monte Pawa.
Taleah Putney was pushed up from U18s to see how she’d go in the tougher comp.
Her first international “test” singles was a huge ask, pitched against one of the best, NZ Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Selina Goddard.
“Taleah was very nervous, but she played well, the score was 18-18, but the more experienced Selina skipped away at the end, winning 21-18 for Auckland,” Cornehls said.
Gayndah’s Aymee Bellert was teamed up with Cass Millerick from Caloundra for the pairs first test, frustratingly going down by just one shot against Auckland’s Alzenna Levi and Kate Inch.
“We just couldn’t hold on long enough, we went down 16-17, there was nothing in it,” Cornehls said.
In the Triples, Madi Styles, Michaela Bailey-Nelson and Kiani Andersen were the favoured ones, on the winning side of the knife’s edge, winning 14-13 against Auckland’s Savannah Lauder, Holly McIllroy and Nicole Toomey.
FINAL SCORES – TEST 1 (Tues Dec 9)
Five out of six rubbers, 10 points.
Queensland 10 – 111 – 77 – 2 Auckland
Two out of six rubbers, 4 points.
Queensland 4 – 99 – 106 – 8 Auckland
For Test progress and details follow BQ’s Events page on the BQ website www.bowlsqld.org or Click here