The Jackaroos men have guaranteed the nation a further two medals at the World Bowls Championships in New Zealand, and will now attempt to elevate their colours from bronze to silver or gold.
Both men’s disciplines, the singles and fours, have advanced to this afternoon’s semi-finals, which assures them each of a bronze medal finish at a minimum, but there was no further cause for celebration in the women’s event, with the pairs upstaged in the elimination encounter.
The Jackaroos contingent will now take home seven medals from the eight disciplines, with three bronze medals still in contention to be upgraded to add to the three gold and one silver they have already secured.
Aron Sherriff, who is attempting to defend the blue-ribbon men’s singles title that Leif Selby won in 2012, encountered some resistance from Wales’ Jonathan Tomlinson early on, with the pair locked at 8-all early in the proceedings, before Sherriff put his foot down and cruised to a 21-8 victory without letting his opponent score.
Sherriff will now contest the semi-final against New Zealand’s Shannon McIlroy in a rematch of the bronze-medal play-off from the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, which Sherriff won.
The men’s fours team of Barrie Lester, Brett Wilkie, Aaron Wilson and Mark Casey also secured safe passage through to the medal matches, with a 21-12 win over the United States of America.
A difficult task confronts the quartet now though, with their semi-final opponent set to be Ireland, who defeated the Australians just 24 hours ago, 10-28, to top their sectional pool.
The women’s pairs team of Kelsey Cottrell and Karen Murphy bowed out of the competition this morning, with a 12-17 loss to England.
While the duo weren’t able to secure a medal of any variety from the discipline, they both still return to Australian shores with the illustrious title of world champion to their name and with a coveted gold medal around their necks, following their women’s fours and singles victories last weekend.
Australia’s women’s triples team of Carla Krizanic, Natasha Scott and Rebecca Van Asch had already earned the right to feature in this afternoon’s semis, and have learned that their opponent will be South Africa’s Sylvia Burns, Susan Nel and Elma Davis, who knocked out Scotland this morning.
The Australian trio haven’t yet encountered the South Africans, given they come from the opposite section, but they would be somewhat pleased with the outcome, having lost an earlier match to Scotland.
The semi-finals are set to get underway from 11.00am AEDT, with three Australians teams featuring in the action.
Men’s singles elimination-final: Australia (Aron Sherriff) def Wales (Jonathan Tomlinson) 21-8
Men’s fours elimination-final: Australia (Barrie Lester, Brett Wilkie, Aaron Wilson, Mark Casey) def United States of America (Aaron Zangl, Scott Roberts, James Flower, Charlie Herbert) 21-12
Women’s pairs elimination-final: Australia (Kelsey Cottrell, Karen Murphy) lost to England (Sophie Tolchard, Ellen Falkner) 12-17
Men’s singles semi-final: Australia (Aron Sherriff) vs New Zealand (Shannon McIlroy)
Men’s fours semi-final: Australia (Barrie Lester, Brett Wilkie, Aaron Wilson, Mark Casey) vs Ireland (Simon Martin, Neil Mulholland, Ian McClure, Martin McHugh)
Women’s triples semi-final: Australia (Carla Krizanic, Natasha Scott, Rebecca Van Asch) vs South Africa (Sylvia Burns, Susan Nel, Elma Davis)