Jackaroos bound into the lead
Australia storms into the lead in the World Champs after winning 3 gold and a silver in New Zealand. (Pictured left: A triumphant Brett Wilkie and Araon Wilson after claiming gold in the Men’s pairs in a 18-7 victory over Ireland’s Gary Kelly and Ian McClure.)
Australia will be looking to carry on its strong performance from week one as it enters week two of the 2016 World Bowls Championship in New Zealand the Jackaroos sit in pole position after winning three gold and one silver in the first four events of week one.
Four events are now left to play for and Australia will look to increase its medal tally in the Men’s singles, Women’s triples, men’s fours and the Women’s pairs.
Helping put Australia into the lead in week one were Queensland’s Brett Wilkie and Victoria’s Aaron Wilson both took home a gold medal for Australia at the World Championships with a clinical 18-7 victory over Ireland’s Gary Kelly and Ian McClure.
Experienced veteran Brett Wilkie, 42, and international debutant Aaron Wilson, 25, proved to be a formidable partnership at the 34-nation quadrennial tournament, downing defending champions Paul Foster and Alex Marshall (Scotland) in the semi-final (after also defeating them in the sectional rounds) before defeating the Irish pair in the decider.
The pair looked destined to prevail from the first end of the ultimate decider, leading from go-to-woe, with Wilkie demonstrating deft touch up front in a format that relies heavily on the lead, while Wilson showed resolve and poise.
The pair carried on from the success of Kelsey Cottrell, Carla Krizanic, Rebecca Van Asch and Natasha Scott who became the first gold medallists of the 2016 World Championships, downing England 23-8 on Saturday morning in the women’s fours final.
So emphatic was their victory, the match was called off two ends early, after the Jackaroos collected 4 shots on the 16th end to reach a seemingly unassailable lead, 23-8.
They were almost down-and-out after the first four rounds of sectional warfare, after suffering three defeats, but turned their fortunes around with a couple of positional changes to their line-up, which saw Cottrell handed the leading duties while Scott took the reins as skip.
Another star player for team oz is Karen Murphy who earned a gold medal for her efforts in an historic consecutive Women’s Singles title win, etching her name into the history books as the first Australian to claim back-to-back Women’s Singles crowns at the World Bowls Championships, downing Scotland’s Lesley Doig 21-13 in a gripping match capped by one of the shots of the tournament.
The historic result was Australia’s first successive singles world title in either gender, and just the third women’s singles win in the history of the competition; Murphy in 2016 and 2012 and Merle Richardson in 1985.
In a stunning conclusion to the ultimate decider, Murphy, who held favour 17-13 on the scoreboard and was 1 shot up in the head, delivered a bomb with a final delivery to trail the jack to bring her furthest bowls into play and collect a full count of 4 shots, the precise amount required for victory.
The Jackaroos’ Men’s Triples side of Barrie Lester, Mark Casey and Aron Sherriff had to settle for silver after a heartbreaking 15-14 loss to the old enemy England, with a see-sawing contest going into an extra end before England’s Jamie Walker’s lead bowl proved the difference between the two sides.
Skip Aron Sherriff’s last bowl heroics ensured the match proceeded into a sudden death extra end, as his drive picked up two shots to square the match at 14-14 after England lead 14-12 before the final end.
However, Sherriff couldn’t repeat those heroics as his last gasp drive in the extra end missed by millimetres and failed to dislodge Walker’s opening bowl toucher.
Both Lester and Casey will now turn their attention to the Men’s Fours and Sherriff to the blue-riband Men’s Singles as they look to turn their fortunes around in the second week of the event.
The last four events left to play for in New Zealand:
Saturday, December 10 (day eleven)
7.00am – 10.00am AEDT: Women’s triples final – Live on Fox Sports 1
11.00am – 2.00pm AEDT: Men’s fours final – Live on Fox Sports 2
Sunday, December 11 (day twelve)
7.00am – 10am AEDT: Women’s pairs final – Live on Fox Sports 4
11.00am – 2.00pm AEDT: Men’s singles final – Live on Fox Sports 3
To follow the Jackaroos as they continue their campaign visit the Bowls Australia website and keep up with the team and track their progress through the championships.
Click here to be taken to the BA website.