NSW Under-18 title defence takes a serious blow
NSW stranglehold on the Australian Under-18 Championships’ major silverware has loosened after taking a sizeable hit from Victoria today, with just one round remaining to make amends.
Having walked away with the boys, girls and overall trophies at Sorrento, Western Australia last year, NSW’s hopes of defending the coveted awards have taken a serious knock, after the Blues were overcome by a red-hot Big V contingent in five of its eight disciplines in Nightcliff today.
Despite heavily tipped to walk away with a swag of golden medallions again this year, particularly after a spectacular display against Western Australia in round one, who whitewashed the event in 2012, the Blues’ campaign was rocked by an inform Victoria, who now appear well placed to claim their first piece of major silverware since 1997.
Victoria claimed the honours in all four boys’ disciplines against the Blues, and remain undefeated going into their third and final sectional encounter against the Sandgropers tomorrow.
The Big V also remain well positioned on top of their section ladder in the girls’ fours, but were unable to withstand the barrage of attack from the Blues in the remaining girls’ singles, pairs and triples.
While Victoria now have the upper-hand going into the final sectional rubber in the five disciplines, the Blues still remain in contention, provided they can post comprehensive scores against the Northern Territory in their rubbers, but must also rely on Victoria faltering against Western Australia in their encounters.
On the other side of the draw, perennial powerhouse Queensland look destined to feature heavily in the gold medal deciders after a further five wins and a draw on the second day of competition.
The Maroons top the standings of six disciplines and will square off against the ACT in the final round.
The nation’s capital has the wood over Queensland in the girls’ pairs, while South Australia have one foot planted in the boy’s triples gold medal play-off, but must overcome Tasmania to book their berth.
Northern Territory’s 11 year-old Marcus Simpson claimed the biggest scalp of his short-lived career in the blue-ribbon singles, defeating former winner David Downey to keep his medal prospects alive.
Simpson must now overcome NSW’s 12 year-old pre-tournament favourite Jono Davis in tomorrow’s final sectional round by a significant margin, while also relying on Downey to prevail against the undefeated Victorian Jay Bye-Norris, in order to advance to the gold medal match for his section and etch his name into the history books as the first Top Ender to taste gold since the event’s inception in 1988.
Click here for full results from the 2014 Australian Under-18 Championships in Nightcliff, Darwin.
Caption: Victoria’s Jay Bye-Norris took the honours over NSW’s Dylan Skinner, and remains undefeated at the Australian Under-18 Championships in Darwin.