A tale of two contenders
The coveted Alley Shield contest appears to be a race in two following this afternoon’s fourth round of the Australian Sides Championships in Yokine, Perth.
Unbeaten through all four rounds, NSW and South Australia loom as the likely contenders in the men’s competition after the halfway mark, while the Blues are also starting to firm as favourites in the clash for the women’s Marj Morris Trophy, with the Waratah state yet to taste defeat in either gender.
The Blues stormed to the top of the leader board with just three rounds remaining after a blockbuster battle with traditional rival Queensland to wrap up the second day of play.
NSW powered past the reigning Alley Shield champions 70-45 to top the standings after four of seven rounds, but suffered their first rink loss in the tournament when the Maroons’ former world number two Brett Wilkie accounted for David Ferguson 23-18, while the Croweaters hung on to their unblemished record with a slender victory over Victoria to cling to second position.
Tomorrow could prove to be the day of reckoning, with a titanic tussle between the top two states in the penultimate round to shape the final standings like no other, provided NSW can overcome Tasmania and South Australia prevails against host state Western Australia in tomorrow morning’s fifth rubber.
NSW is hunting its 19th Alley Shield win in the 50th staging of the Australian Sides Championships, while South Australia is vying for just its second ever victory.
The Blues are also in pole position in their attempt to become the first state or territory to claim a fourth successive Marj Morris Trophy, which would also bring them up to double figures in the 26th iteration of the women’s competition.
South Australia’s bid for its maiden trophy win suffered a blow this morning, when they dropped the third session rubber against Tasmania.
Despite the Croweaters fourth round win against Victoria, Tasmania leap frogged their way to second position courtesy of a consecutive victory in the afternoon session against ACT.
The fifth round will see Victoria tackle Queensland, ACT encounter Northern Territory, Western Australia play South Australia and NSW battle Tasmania from 9.00am AWST at Yokine Districts Bowling Club tomorrow morning.
Click here for full results and ladders from the 2015 Australian Sides Championships.