Defending titleholders dethroned

by admin

It was a dark day for defending champions in the blue-ribbon singles disciplines at the $250,000 Australian Open on the Gold Coast.
It was a dark day for defending champions in the blue-ribbon singles disciplines at the $250,000 Australian Open on the Gold Coast.

Last year’s title winners, 22 year-old Aaron Teys and 19 year-old Ellen Ryan were among the lengthy causality list recorded during the first day of knockout rounds after the midway point of the tournament.

Following the dethroning of the titleholders, 18 year-old Dylan Skinner has cemented himself as the man to beat in the men’s singles after claiming the scalp of tournament favourite Ryan Bester in the round of 64.

Skinner required just 50 minutes to secure an emphatic 21-2 victory over last year’s runner-up Bester, who had already cleared the path for the young Wiseman Park greenskeeper by toppling reigning champion Teys in the earlier round of 128.

“Ryan’s a world-class player, he’s done a lot in the sport, having played for Canada at the Commonwealth Games multiple times so I expected it to be a hard match and it was considering the scoreline,” Skinner said.

“He’s a great player and an asset to Broadbeach Bowls Club.

“I got out to a good lead and I expected him to come back, but I put my head down and my first bowl was a pretty much always a front knocker so that put the pressure on him straight away.

“Beating Bester doesn’t really put me up there as a favourite so I’ll just take it one game at a time and see how it goes.”

Skinner now faces another young-gun, in 18 year-old Nic Gosley, from Musgrave Hill, in a grudge match after the two grew up representing the Blues and Maroons respectively at junior levels, with the clash happening tomorrow morning from 11.00am at Paradise Point in the round of 32.

National Coach Steve Glasson is another who remains alive in the field, and despite focusing his efforts on using the event to select the Australian Jackaroos squad for the upcoming World Bowls Championships, he is now one step closer to securing a maiden Australian Open title.

Glasson will face a former teammate in Broadbeach’s Phil Brandon in his 11.00am encounter, with the pair formerly playing in the same rink for South Tweed.

Despite the current titleholders dropping out of contention, a number of former winners still remain in the hunt, including Helensvale’s 2009 champion Brett Wilkie, Ettalong Memorial’s 2010 winner Aron Sherriff, and Clayton’s 2013 victor Aaron Wilson, as does Warilla’s four-time World Cup winner Jeremy Henry and Malaysia’s former number one Safuan Said.

Some tantalising matches are scheduled to take place tomorrow, including Jackaroos teammates Sherriff and Barrie Lester going head-to-head, Henry encountering Broadbeach young-gun Sean Ingham, Jackaroo Wayne Ruediger and Cabramatta ace Corey Wedlock, and Wilson pitted against Fairul Izwan Abd Muin.

In the women’s event, Ryan’s hopes of being the first player to claim back-to-back singles titles faded after being upended by Malaysia’s Zuraini Khalid 21-15.

The women’s singles round of 32 is staged tonight, with the round of 16 held across two session times tomorrow – 4.00pm and 6.30pm.