Queensland claim national honours
Queensland’s final day gold rush may not have eventuated, but it didn’t prevent the Maroons from claiming the overall honours at the Australian Under-18 Championships in Darwin today.
The Maroons clinched just one gold medal after progressing through the sectional rounds into six ultimate deciders on the final day of the nation’s premier junior competition in Nightcliff, but their massive one gold, five silver, one bronze medal haul from just eight disciplines was enough to secure their first Overall State Champions Trophy win since 2010.
Such was the evenness of the competition, for the first time since the Overall State Champions Trophy inception in 2008, a state or territory that didn’t win either of the boys’ or girls’ honours was awarded the ultimate prize.
Victoria fell agonisingly short of pinching the honours, which would have been their first overall victory since 1997, but didn’t walk away empty handed after producing a stunning campaign that included three gold, one silver and two bronze medals, enough to earn to the boys’ trophy after medalling in each of the male disciplines.
The girls’ honours was a heated affair, with the winner only decided on a count back of games, after two teams were left stranded on 34 total points, with NSW claiming the girls’ trophy over Queensland, 13 games to 11.5 games.
Victoria’s Jay Bye-Norris secured the coveted blue-ribbon boys’ singles over Queensland’s Nic Gosley by a slender 1 shot, while the Maroons prevailed in a state of origin clash in the girl’s triples, with Michaela Bailey-Nelson, Connie-Leigh Rixon and Tiffany Murray victorious over the Blues’ Lauren Shaw, Molly Wilton and Jamie-Lee Worsnop.
Western Australia and South Australia both seized their only opportunities to secure a slice of gold, prevailing in the girls’ singles and boys’ triples respectively.
The Sandgropers’ Elizabeth Allan successfully defended her blue-ribbon girls’ singles title against Queensland’s Connie-Leigh Rixon, 21-11, while the Croweaters’ Gerrin Jenke, Tyson Wilson and James Bodnar proved to be on of the biggest surprise packets of the event after toppling Victoria’s pre-tournament favourites Curtis Hanley, Ben Cotter and Jay Bye-Norris 16-13, a feat that far surpasses their seventh placed finish last year in Sorrento.
In the boys’ pairs, the Blues’ Isaac Rayner and Jono Davis ended Queensland’s hopes of obtaining a second gold medal when they defeated Jacob Nelson and Nic Gosley by 1 shot in an edge-of-your-seat thriller that saw an extra sudden-death end played to post a result.
NSW’s second gold medal came courtesy of Ellen Ryan and Dawn Hayman’s title defence of the girls’ pairs, 26-8, which ultimately meant Tasmania wasn’t able to capitalise on their only gold medal opportunity.
The Big V’s boys’ fours team of Jayde Christie, Curtis Hanley, Ben Cotter and Joshua Corless were able to produce a performance one better than last year’s attempt in Western Australia, where they fell short on the last hurdle to NSW, clawing their way back from a 9 shot deficit to claim a momentous come-from-behind victory, 16-15.
In contrasting match on the adjacent rink, Victoria lead from go-to-woe against the Maroons, with Tiffany Brodie, Cody Sylvester, Elise Rigoni and Tayla Morison producing a comprehensive 19-9 victory to go back-to-back in the discipline.
1. Queensland – 1 gold (girls’ triples), 5 silver (boys’ singles, pairs and fours, girls’ singles and fours, 1 bronze (boys’ triples)
2. Victoria – 3 gold (boy’s singles and fours, girls’ fours), 1 silver (boys’ triples), 2 bronze (boys’ pair and girls’ pairs)
3. NSW – 2 gold (boys’ pairs and girls’ pairs), 1 silver (girls’ triples), 3 bronze (boys’ singles, girls’ singles and fours)
4. Western Australia – 1 gold (girls’ singles), 1 bronze (boys’ fours)
5. South Australia – 1 (boy’s triples), 1 bronze (girls’ triples)
6. Tasmania – 1 silver (girls’ pairs)