Sherriff blasts his way into singles semi-final

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Aron Sherriff’s men’s singles campaign rolls on after an edge-of-your-seat blockbuster quarter-final win against Malaysia’s Muhammad Hizlee Abdul Rais, while the women’s pairs team of Carla Odgers and Natasha Scott have bowed out of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It was a particularly slow start to proceedings for the world champion, who had not registered a score after the initial four ends, founding himself five shots down. Finally, Sherriff responded, scoring two shots to quell the Malaysian contingent in the crowd. “I didn’t think I was far off at the start but he was going really well and had the rub of the green,” Sherriff recalled. “But then my first bowl kicked in and that put pressure on him.” The momentum was to be short-lived however, with Rais widening the margin to seven shots, 9-2, immediately after. Again, Sherriff came out firing, piling on five straight shots to get to 7-9, and again, Rais appeared to have his measure, with the Malaysian ace picking up consecutive ends of 3 to blow the rubber out to a match high score of eight shots, 7-15. That margin was matched at 10-18 and the Malaysian player seemed to have all the answers. But then the momentum shifted and the more experienced Sherriff could sense an opportunity. He picked up two shots on the 18th end before his Malaysian opponent gained one more to move to 12-19. The pressure was clearly getting to the Malaysian player who left the green for a “comfort stop” at 14-19. Sherriff however, was peppering the jack over long ends, and all of a sudden the scoreline was back to an almost levelling playing field, 18-19, after three successive ends of 2. On the 23rd end Sherriff picked up another two shots and had hit the front for the first time in the match, 20-19. The final end saw the Aussie holding shot and after a quick tactical conference with National Assistance Coach Robbie Dobbins, played a back bowl with his last bullet to cover one of the options for the Malaysian opponent. Sherriff crossed his fingers and showed them to the crowd as if to say, ‘I’ve done all I can.’ “On the last end I missed my first but played a good second one, but he’d tightened up too,” Sherriff noted. “Given how he’d tightened I didn’t think there was a huge chance he’d draw to within a foot so therefore I needed a back bowl to counter the drive.” With the option to drive taken away, Rais’ last bowl finished short and a jubilant Sherriff embraced Dobbins. “At no stage did I really think I was in trouble, I’d got out of tough matches earlier and Dobbo (Dobbins) was a great support,” Sherriff added. “It was a mixture of emotion, relief and excitement. “It’s a big effort and the next one is four years away so it means a lot to still be in the hunt.” In the other quarter-final, the local hope and crowd favourite, Darren Burnett, also came from behind to win, 21-20, setting up a tantalising semi-final encounter between Sherriff and the Scottish world champion. “I think this will be my hardest match coming up,” Sherriff said. “Pretty much the top four seeds are through so it’s a promoter’s dream. “I’ll need to silence the crowd early but there’s a good strong Aussie contingent here too so it should be good fun.” The semi-final match will commence at 12:45pm (9.45pm AEST) today. It was contrasting emotions among the Australian camp however, with a heartbreaking finish to Carla Odgers and Natasha Scott’s campaign against Jersey in their quarter-final. After dropping four on the opening end the Aussies rallied to peel off seven straight shots and lead 7-4 after eight ends. From there the margin remained consistent until the 14th end where the Australian team led 11-8. However, at this point the team from Jersey hit a purple patch, producing ends of 3, 2 and 2. In the space of three ends the match had changed complexion drastically, and four shots down at the start of the last was too much to claw back. The final score was 11-16 but Coach Kelvin Kerkow was still upbeat about the Australian’s …