Anzacs battle for bowls supremacy?
In the best southern hemisphere vernacular Australia and New Zealand have always been ‘mates’, with the most treasured relationship being a military alliance when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps was formed during the first world war, continued through the second outbreak and further on to the Vietnam conflict.
The mighty Anzacs were formidable in the extreme – old timers claim these fighting men and women struck fear into the hearts of any and all enemies on the field of battle.
Thankfully, in more recent times they have linked in a myriad of less dangerous pursuits – particularly in the spheres of commerce and politics, while one of Australia’s ‘Big 4’ banks, which is also New Zealand’s largest, is branded ANZ. These two nations work well together.
However, one domain in which the Aussies and the Kiwis do not necessarily see eye to eye is on the sporting field where international battles, particularly between their rugby, cricket, netball and bowls teams, have taken on legendary status.
Rugby Union’s Bledisloe Cup between the Wallabies and the All Blacks is always fiercely contested, while the Diamonds and Silver Ferns regularly slug it out for world netball supremacy. Similarly, the Aussies and Black Caps have faced off at regular intervals since 1986 for cricket’s prized Trans Tasman Trophy.
Bowls has a Trans Tasman Trophy too. It was introduced seven years earlier and has been keenly contested annually since its first outing in Brisbane. And over those years many of the most herculean clashes on sport’s most level playing field have featured these great rivals, while the names of those who have represented their respective countries reads like a Who’s Who of the sport.
And although these Trans Tasman sporting competitions have been traditionally fierce, fair and friendly, the decision by Australian cricket captain Greg Chappell to instruct his brother Trevor to send down an underarm whizzer to NZ’s Brian McKechnie, as the last ball of the 1981 One Day Series decider at the MCG, and deny NZ any chance of victory, almost caused a serious diplomatic incident.
Bowls has not been without its own Trans Tasman controversy as well. Ours occurred on day two of the 1997 series at South Tweed Heads – the first to include a women’s competition – when a fiery confrontation about a marked (or unmarked) toucher erupted in the men’s fours rubber.
Good judges at the World Singles Champion of Champions in Wellington New Zealand are predicting that the next two days could reignite these nationalistic passions with Aussies and Kiwis leading the charge for men’s and women’s supremacy.
New Zealand’s Kelvin Scott has been irrepressible in the men’s competition at the impressive Naenae Bowling Club, while young starlet Tayla Bruce is a genuine threat in the women’s event.
Barring major disasters – on the bowling green only – these classy New Zealanders will feature in Thursday’s play-offs and take their swipe at graduating for Friday’s world championship finals.
So will Australians Lee Schraner and Carla Krizanic who have led their respective sections from go to whoa. Schraner is the defending champion – he won the 2019 title in Adelaide – while Krizanic has two Commonwealth Games and two world championship gold medals in her bulging trophy cabinet.
But there are a few litres of water to flow down the Hutt River between now and the main event – and still some more tall tales and true to be told.
Anne Nunes, the pocket-sized American fireball who had taken all before over the first three days, lost two tiebreaks today and now finds herself under threat – but she’s a fighter and will be visible at the business end of these championships.
We’re happy to report that English hope Stef Branfield’s spirits were bolstered when she captured the prize scalp of Carla Krizanic this afternoon – winning the first set 10-9 but trailing 0-8 in the second, then 6-9, before lady luck stepped in to gift her three, a tied set and victory. However there was a reversal of fortunes in her very next start against Botswana’s delightful Marea Modutlwa.
And what about the battle of the islanders between Nooroa Mataio from the Cook Islands and Daphne Arthur-Almond from the Falklands? Two hard-fought drawn sets 7-7 8-8 forced a tiebreaker which saw Daphne prevail with a double and a treble to claim a fine victory.
Tomorrow’s final day of qualifying includes several eye-popping matches with berths of a world title tilt on the line.
2022 World Singles Championships, Wellington, New Zealand
Rd. 10: Kushal Pillay (FIJ) bt Edwin Nyoka (BOT) 7-7 11-4, Gordon White (SCO) bt Trevor Gow (NFI) 9-5 8.3, Matt Mercer (ZAM) bt Cecil Alexander (FLK) 11-5 8-9 5-0, Gary McCloy (IRE) bt Anthony Loh (SIN) 6-10 16-5 4-0.
Rd.11: Sam Tolchard (ENG) bt Billy Nicholls (CYP) 13-3 5-7 2-1, Iva Lealaiauloto (SAM) bt Niksa Benguric (RSA) 11-5 10-7, McCloy bt Mercer 9-4 10-6, Kelvin Scott (NZL) bt Loh 7-5 8-4.
Rd.12: Benguric bt Steve Williams (GUE) 8-5 14-5, Pillay bt Nicholls 6-7 12-5 4-2, Scott bt White 5-12 8-7 5-0, Lealaiauloto bt Nyoka 10-5 8-7, Tolchard bt Alexander 8-8 15-3.
Progressive: Scott 24 points +12 sets, Tolchard 21 +11, McCloy 18 +7, Gow 18 +4, White 15 +10, Benguric 15 +5, Pillay 15 Sq, Lealaiauloto 15 Sq, Loh 12 Sq, Alexander 6 Sq, Mercer 6 -6, Nicholls 6 -6, Williams 6 -10, Nyoka 3 -72.
Rd.10: Lee Schraner (AUS) bt Charlie Herbert (USA) 5-9 14-5 4-1, Warren Cheung (HKC) bt Amnon Amar (ISR) 8-5 8-5, Kevin James (WAL) bt Zoltan Pavelka (HUN) 13-2 13-3, Ross Davis (JER) bt Thomas Waelti (SUI) 12-7 7-8 3-2, Izzat Dzulkeple (MAS) bt Fred Tafatu (NIU) 10-10 8-7.
Rd.11: Royden Aperau (CKI), bt Olle Bäckgren (SWE) 5-5 7-6, Michael Leong (CAN) bt Axel Krahenbuhl (NAM) 1-15 12-4 4-0, James bt Tafatu 10-6 2-16 4-2, Herbert bt Waelti 13-3 7-4.
Rd.12: Aperau bt Cheung 12-1 8-10 3-2, Davis bt Bäckgren 12-4 10-5, Dzulkeple bt Krahenbuhl 10-4 15-3, Leong bt Amar 16-2 13-6.
Progressive: Schraner 24 points +12 sets, James 24 +9, Aperau 18 +6, Dzulkeple 15 +7, Davis 15 +5, Leong 15 +2, Cheung 12 +3, Herbert 12 +2, Tafatu 9 Sq, Waelti 9 -3, Pavelka 9 -4, Krahenbuhl 9 -6, Bäckgren 6 -7, Amar 3 -10.
Rd.10: Petal Jones (NFI) bt Anne Nunes (USA) 6-5 6-10 2-1, Mel Thomas (WAL) bt Ain Tarmizi (MAS) 10-3 2-14 5-0, Daphne Arthur-Almond (FLK) bt Nooroa Mataio (CKI) 7-7 8-8 5-0.
Rd.11: Stef Branfield (ENG) bt Carla Krizanic (AUS) 10-9 9-9, Tarmizi bt Nunes 8-5 6-10 2-1, Esmé Haley (RSA) bt Elly Dolieslager (NED) 10-7 12-4, Tayla Bruce (NZL) bt Thomas 6-6 10-7, Marea Modutlwa (BOT) bt Jennifer McClure (IRE) 6-5 16-1, Diana Viljoen (NAM) bt Jones 12-2 6-7 5-0.
Rd.12: McClure bt Dolieslager 11-7 6-8 6-0, Krizanic bt Mataio 7-5 8-8, Modutlwa bt Branfield 9-9 8-7.
Progressive: Krizanic 21 points +10 sets, Bruce 21 +9, Nunes 18 +8, Tarmizi 18 +5, Thomas 18 +5, Modutlwa 15 +3, Haley 15 -3, Jones 12 +4, Viljoen 12 -2, McClure 9 -2, Arthur-Almond 9 -2, Dolieslager 9 -2, Branfield 9 -4, Mataio 6 -3.