Familiar faces lurking at #AusOpenGC
Sport of the sport’s biggest names have eased into the men’s pairs knockout rounds today at the $225,000 Australian Open.
The big guns have come out firing in the men’s pairs event at the $225,000 Australian Open on the Gold Coast today.
Six current Australian Jackaroos representatives have booked their tickets to the knockout stages of the second discipline staged at ’the world’s biggest bowls festival’, while elder statesmen National Coach Steve Glasson and Australian selector Kelvin Kerkow will also feature in the business end of the competition.
Club, state and national teammates Brett Wilkie and Nathan Rice escaped through the sectional rounds with an unblemished three victories at Musgrave Hill, while their Jackaroos colleagues Mark Casey and Aron Sherriff are another highly fancied pairing that avoided the event’s traditionally treturous early rubbers, winning their three matches at Robina to advance to the eliminations.
South Australia’s golden pairing of world champion Wayne Ruediger and Adelaide Endurance teammate Scott Thulborn headline their states chances in the discipline, while five-time Australian Open finalist Barrie Lester appears destined to be a genuine contender for his first crown, partnering fellow Aero Bowls spear-head Alex Marshall.
The national representatives will be joined in the knockout stages by a number of international raiders intent on pillaging the $225,000 war-chest, with seven renowned internationally capped stars lurking in the field, including Scottish world champion Marshall.
Former New Zealand Blackjack Richard Girvan and ex-Scottish world champion Graeme Archer join the hunt in the elimination rounds after easing their way past quality opponents in section 62, including Bowls Australia’s Under-18 Male Bowler of the Year Michael Sims and Victorian young-gun Joshua Corless.
2008 Australian Open champion pair Gary Lawson, a former New Zealand representative, and Canadian master-blaster Ryan Bester qualified courtesy of three wins at Southport, while one half of the 2010 pairs gold medallist team, former England captain Stuart Airey, has also progressed through the sectional battlefield to earn a place among the qualifiers with his country mate Graeme Vipond.
Former English international David Holt, who represented Australia in the World Cup and World Champion of Champions, rounds out the list of combatants from distant lands, earning a place as one of today’s 89 section winners alongside his St Johns Park teammate and fan favourite Ben Twist.
In the heart-warming story of the event, seven year-old bowls prodigy Jett Simmons cruised through the sectional rounds in his makeshift team with his Alan Fawcett, who he hadn’t met until this morning.
Simmonds proved a crowd favourite with spectators and the media alike, with Nine News Gold Coast and the Gold Coast Bulletin both taking a keen interest in the pint-sized prodigy.
Father-and-son duo Steve and Ben Glasson survived a harrowing scare, after dropping their second round encounter by a slender shot, but still managed to top their section to extend their campaign with a clinical 20-10 third rubber win.
Coaching personal must be practicing what they preach at the event, with former National Coach Cameron Curtis also adding another round to his campaign, alongside his 2013 National Champion of Champion winning partner Carl Healey.
89 men’s pairs sections have now been decided, with the remaining decided tomorrow, alongside the complete contingent of women’s pairs on day five of the $225,000 Australian Open on the Gold Coast.