National Championships silverware there for the taking
The Australian Sides Championships’ Marj Morris Trophy remains available for the taking to at least four states after a stunning fourth round created a log jam of contenders vying for the top of the table standings. Victoria, NSW, Tasmania and South Australia are all still in the hunt for the coveted women’s silverware, with the four states level on wins at the conclusion of the second day’s play, with just three-and-a-half rink victories separating first to fourth. With three rounds left in proceedings, Victoria have narrowly managed to capture pole position, despite dropping their afternoon encounter to South Australia by a single solitary shot across the three rinks of four players. The Big V concluded the day with three match victories and nine rink wins, out of a possible four and 12, after they salvaged two rink wins against the Croweaters – even though they fell shy on shots – enough to provide them with the fleeting lead over defending titleholders NSW. The Blues’ three-straight-rink, 93-33, victory over the Northern Territory in the fourth rubber puts them in second place, just one rink ahead of host state Tasmania. The Tigers are somewhat of a surprise packet at the time-honoured event, having never claimed the Trophy in the women’s competition’s 35 year history, but have displayed a great deal of depth that could hold them in good stead for years to come, particularly when considering the state’s only world champion, Rebecca Van Asch, has yet to enjoy a rink win at the championships. South Australia also still remains a chance, but needs to play catch-up on rink victories given they are languishing behind on 5.5, while perennial champions Queensland are also an outside chance – a game behind but holding 6 rinks. In the men’s Alley Shield event, Queensland maintained their unbeaten streak to lead the standings by a game, in spite of their close shave against the winless Top Enders, who snatched two rinks off Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kelvin Kerkow and Australian Jackaroos representative Nathan Rice yesterday. The Maroons, who last claimed the spoils in 2012 on home-turf in Broadbeach, face their toughest task yet in their next encounter though, with a showdown booked against the event’s most prolific winners, NSW. The fifth round of the Australian Sides Championships commences at 9.00am tomorrow morning at South Burnie Bowls Club where ACT square off against Tasmania, South Australia plays Northern Territory and Western Australia does battle with Victoria. Click here for full results from the Australian Sides Championships. Caption: Karen Murphy’s performances over the next two days are pivotal for NSW’s title defence.