By Steve Glasson
The Welsh 10-Nations event came to a dramatic conclusion, with the Australian Jackaroos undoubtedly the best-performed nation with a swag of medals of all varieties, including half the tournament’s gold, as National Coach Steve Glasson reports.
In his semi-final, it was advantage Teys early on against Ireland’s Gary Kelly, when he progressed to a 9-3 lead.
However, the determined Irishman dug deep and not only reduced the deficit but turned it into a handy lead.
At 16-20, hope for a Gold medal looked slim for Australia however true to his gritty character, Teysie put his hand up for the challenge and soon thereafter, levelled at 20 all.
It wasn’t to be though, with Kelly getting the bounce and securing a 21-20 classic win.
Jesse Noronha and Aaron Wilson had to be considered the underdogs against the South African duo of Wayne Rittmuller and Pierre Breiten back in the men’s pairs, due to the fact the South Proteas had already defeated the Jackaroo pairing in the sectional play, albeit by a solitary shot.
As expected, it was a tight contest with the Aussies leading the way for the most part, however typical of any proud South African team, it was only a matter of time before fierce pressure was applied, and albeit only a couple of shots ahead, there were always questions asked of us by the other green and gold contingent.
All four players contributed to the contest, however, Aaron Wilson was the difference with a high level of consistency and some big shots when it really mattered.
The final scoreline read Australia defeated South Africa 18-12.
The men’s triples contingent of Corey Wedlock, Ben Twist and Aaron Teys faced the daunting task of taking on three of Ireland’s favourite sons in Stuart Bennett, Neil Mulholland and Mark Wilson, but the Jackaroos took control early, jumping to a 5-0 advantage in no time.
To Ireland’s credit, they lifted to a new level and whilst all three played extremely well, this game will hold long-lasting memories for Ireland’s Captain Mark Wilson, who was nothing short of superb.
Australia didn’t really enjoy some near misses or less than optional results however the precision of the Irish is to be commended.
The final score was etched in Ireland’s favour, defeating Australia 19-12.
The first gold medal decided on the last final day was that of the men’s fours and it was a rematch of an earlier pool encounter between the Jackaroos and Ireland.
Of course, Australia was looking to seek some revenge after Ireland defeated us in the Men’s Triples final.
Playing at a slick Penylan, the Jackaroos jumped out of the box quickly to establish a handy lead, however not to be outdone, the Irish rallied and threw everything at it, and remained in contention until late in the game when Australia’s skip Aaron “Disco” Wilson, found himself two down and on the attack.
Whilst not entirely perfect, the result occurred and Australia regained ascendancy and went on to register a hard-earned 14–9 win.
Congratulations to Jesse Noronha, Corey Wedlock, Ben Twist and Aaron Wilson on the golden result.
Young-gun Ellen Ryan had been in sublime form en-route to the gold medal match, but the final was always going to be a new challenge with a green which was throwing its own challenges and yet another quality opponent, this time Emma Firyana Saroji from Malaysia.
Ryan started the better of the two and led early, however, Emma soon found a specific three-quarter length, and in-turn her range, and as long as this length was available to her with the advantage of throwing the jack, then the prospect for Ellen prevailing gradually became diminished.
Ryan toiled and was gallant in defeat against an opponent who was simply better on the day, with the final score registered as Malaysia defeated Australia 21-14.
The most exciting, edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting, match of the day tension most certainly went to the Women’s Pairs; on paper, a classic between Australia and Malaysia.
Once again, the Aussies owed our Malaysian colleagues an ounce of pay-back, if you like, and early it was looking promising, except for a touch of “X factor” holding us back; that being Malaysian skip Siti Zalina Ahmed.
The Aussies could easily have been close to 10-nil up, however, Siti continually turned the heads over and with that, the scores were all locked up.
From there, the Malaysians took charge and went ahead, the maximum being 7 shots until a length change, some successful attacking shots and some quality play got Australia back to leading by 1 with an end to play.
With both skips having a bowl to play each, Malaysia holding 1, Cottrell ran and was perfect, until she found a hole which really didn’t exist, therefore allowing Lina a chance to draw the winner.
The margin of error for both was minimal and a near miss by Siti saw the players reaching for a coin to decipher who would lead-off on the extra end decider.
Australia won the toss and wisely accepted the opportunity to roll their most successful length and when Ellen Ryan nailed the jack with her first bowl, it was always going to be difficult to convert.
The final score posted was Australia 15, Malaysia 14; gold to Australia!
In the women’s triples final it was a Southern Hemisphere battle with our girls taking on the might from South Africa.
With the green now running exceptionally fast, it was advantage Australia and our trio grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Experienced Proteas skipper Elma Davis kept the South Africans in the contest with some classy draw shots, but at the end of the day, consistency proved too much and Kristina Kristic, Chloe Stewart and Rebecca Van Asch ran out winners 19-9.
In the Women’s Fours, the epic battles between Malaysia and Australia continued.
Once again, not much separated these two world-class continents, going into the 15th and final end, the score was locked at 10–10.
It was however to be Malaysia’s day with a couple of very near misses by the Aussie back-end being the only difference.
As a wise man once said, this game of bowls really is a “game of inches”.
Congratulations to our Aussie quartet of Chloe Stewart, Kelsey Cottrell, Kristina Krstic & Rebbecca Van Asch who finished with a bronze medal for their valiant efforts.
Men’s medal results:
Men’s Singles – Bronze
Men’s Pairs – Gold
Men’s Triples – Silver
Men’s Fours – Gold
Women’s medal results:
Women’s Singles – Silver
Women’s Pairs – Gold
Women’s Triples – Gold
Women’s Fours – Bronze
(Article and image from Bowls Australia.)