Simpson notches up the Top End’s first win
Northern Territory’s 11 year-old Marcus Simpson has claimed the biggest scalp of his short-lived career at the Australian Under-18 Championships in Nightcliff, defeating former singles winner David Downey to keep his medal prospects alive.
It was true David v Goliath encounter that played out in the Top End this morning, where pint-sized Simpson played the role of David, and 6’2 Australian Under-18 squad representative Downey towered over him like a Goliath figure.
Not deterred by the herculean task that confronted him, Simpson went about his business against the top-aged Western Australian; who pocketed two gold medals from the event two years ago in Tasmania, including the coveted singles crown.
Simpson took 2 shots on the first end and raced away with the match seemingly in the blink of an eye – getting as far as 10 shots ahead, 20-10, before Downey launched his response.
Two measures over two ends went against Simpson’s favour, and it appeared as though momentum was beginning to shift against him, but the up-and-coming ace held his nerve to pick-up the required 1 shot on the 23rd end to record the host state’s first win of tournament in the blue-ribbon boys’ singles, 21-18.
“I’m pretty happy about it cause I really wanted to beat him,” Simpson said after his win.
“I hope I beat Jono but it’s going to be tough because he’s a pretty good player.
“It would be unbelievable to win a medal.”
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.
Northern Territory’s Owen Short secured an elusive singles silver medal for the state at last year’s event, and the possibility still remains for Simpson to etch his name into the history books as the first Top Ender to taste gold since the event’s inception in 1988, but having been drawn in the pool of death, a bronze medal play off seems a more likely scenario.
In the opposite side of the draw, Queensland’s Nic Gosley secured his second win in the singles discipline, over Tasmania’s Joe Thomas 21-10, and appears to be the likely gold medal opponent, with his final sectional rubber against ACT’s Brendan Spaven tomorrow.
Play continues from 12.00pm ACST with the boys’ pairs and triples, and girls’ fours.
Click here for full results from the Australian Under-18 Championships.
Caption: Pint-sized Marcus Simpsons has cut David Downey down to size in the blue-ribbon singles.