Jackaroos trio lead nation’s golden hopes

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Australia has secured safe passage to a maiden gold medal match of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, in the women’s triples, and is just one victory shy from a berth in the men’s fours’ ultimate decider. The women’s triples combination of Lynsey Clarke, Karen Murphy and Kelsey Cottrell have earned the right to chase down the nation’s first golden medallion, and the title of Commonwealth Games champions, after a comprehensive win over the in-form team of the tournament, South Africa, who sit on top of the leader board with four gold and one bronze. Australia’s Wayne Ruediger, Brett Wilkie, Nathan Rice and Matthew Flapper also remain well and truly in the hunt to bolster the nation’s medal standing, after advancing to the semi-final after edging out Wales, but now faces a herculean task in the form of host country Scotland. The result in the other post-sectional match tonight didn’t fall Australia’s way, after Aron Sherriff was shot down by Scottish policeman Darren Burnett, but there still remains a chance of a bronzed-lining for the Jackaroos spearhead. Women’s triples semi-final: Australia v South Africa 17-8 In a semi-final against the standout nation of the competition to-date, South Africa, who have produced a somewhat unsurprising, albeit spectacular performance from the Games so far, Clarke, Murphy and Cottrell needed to be at the top of their game. It took some time for the nerves to settle, with the stakes of a spot in the gold medal final of the sport’s pinnacle event enough to rattle the coolness. Trailing 2-6 after five ends was hardly the start that National Coach Steve Glasson had envisaged. “Actually it took us a good while to settle in,” Glasson said. “We scored a four on the 7th end and from there was no stopping us.” By the latter stages of the match the Australians were in front 14-7 and looked completely at ease on the Kelvingrove greens. Testament to their outstanding performance in clutch a match, the green and gold trio only required 17 of the 18 scheduled ends to post the win, with the margin exceeding the shots available. “That was a great win for the girls against very solid opposition,” Glasson said. The team will now play for a gold medal against the highly fancied team from England in Sophie Tolchard, Ellen Falkner and Sian Gordon. The match is scheduled for a 5:30pm start today (2.30AM AEST). Men’s fours quarter-final: Australia v Wales 19-14 It was a fierce battle between two countries yet to reach the tournament’s ultimate glory so far, with a semi-final berth against the hometown heroes of Scotland the reward for the victor. Reudiger, Wilkie, Rice and Flapper, who are yet to drop a match at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, produced another empathic performance. Today they started well and led 7-2 after five ends which was pleasing to Coach Kelvin Kerkow. “The boys played well and led the whole game,” Kerkow said. “We didn’t have much luck and a few times the jack didn’t necessarily fall our way.” But tough luck didn’t halter their progression, with the Australians breaking out to a commanding lead. That margin was held until the third last end, when the Welsh team gained 3 shots, and suddenly the game was anyone’s for the taking with just one shot differential – 15-14. But from there, it was all Australia, picking up two shots on the last two ends to finish the match at 19-14. “We were deserving winners but I can tell you the Welsh boys didn’t give up, and full credit to them,” Kerkow added. The team will now prepare for their semi-final bout against Scotland, commencing at 5:30pm local time (2.30AM AEST). Men’s singles semi-final: Australia v Scotland 15-21 In a match that was fitting of a gold medal game, Aron Sherriff was narrowly defeated by the Scottish representative and local hero, Darren Burnett. A classic affair between a ‘Copper’ – Burnett is a policeman – and a “Sherriff” was always going to end in a shootout. With both players trading blows throughout the match, it was an …