Ayres’ dream cut short
Former Australian Under-18 representative Billy Johnson has claimed one of the biggest scalps on the opening morning of the $140,000 Australian Open. Johnson, who donned the green and gold against New Zealand at last year’s Trans Tasman in the junior category, caused a boil over against a fellow up-and-coming star, eliminating last year’s blue ribbon singles finalist Matthew Ayres. Ayres, 18, didn’t find the scoreboard until the seventh end of the opening rubber, and only managed to collect 2 shots up until the 14th end – where he found himself staring down the barrel of defeat, 2-17. To his credit, Ayres put his foot down in the tail half of the match, scoring in 8 out of remaining 11 ends, but was unable to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, bowing out 21-14. Johnson will now encounter Sam White in the second rubber. Another early casualty of the 128-player men’s singles discipline at Darebin International Sports Centre, was reigning Australian Indoor Champion Tony Wood. Wood’s upset came at the hands of former Aussie Under-25 representative David Furguson, 21-14. Meanwhile, defending Australian Open pairs winner Russell Green Jnr, kept his hopes of singles progression alive knocking off Bowls Australia Hall of Famer and legend of the green John Snell, 21-11. The Australian Open is staged at the Darebin International Sports Centre from February 16 to 20. Click here to see full results from the opening round of the men’s singles at the $140,000 Australian Open.