Australia will contest a further two finals at the 2016 World Bowls Championships in Christchurch, and are just two wins away from equaling their record-breaking five gold medal haul from four years ago.
The Jackaroos, who had already secured three gold and one silver from the initial four disciplines contested last week, earned the right to compete for a further two gold medals with victories in the men’s fours and women’s triples this afternoon.
Carla Krizanic, Natasha Scott and Rebecca Van Asch have earned the opportunity to hunt a second gold medal from the event, after prevailing in an edge-of-the-seat thriller against South Africa in an extra end of the women’s triples semi-final.
The trio, who were all part of the gold medal winning fours team, secured a shot on the 18th end to extend the game to a sudden death tie-break, where they clinched a 2 shot win.
They face Wales’ Caroline Taylor, Jess Sims and Kathy Pearce in tomorrow morning’s 7.00am AEDT final, who the Jackaroos defeated 20-8 in the sectional rounds.
Australia’s men’s fours team of Barrie Lester, Brett Wilkie, Aaron Wilson and Mark Casey will also go in search of a gold medal, from 11.00am AEDT tomorrow, after posting a clinical 22-10 win against USA in the semis.
The quartet have a difficult task ahead of them though, in New Zealand’s Mike Nagy, Blake Signal, Mike Kernaghan and Ali Forsyth, who finished the nine sectional rounds undefeated and with a +153 shot record in the opposite pool to Australia.
However, the Jackaroos will be eager to grant a swansong to Casey, in his last ever international match, and earn a reward for the only two members missing gold medals from the event; Lester and Casey.
There wasn’t further cause for celebration in the men’s singles though, with Aron Sherriff bowing out of the competition with a bronze medal.
Sherriff was narrowly overcome in the semi-final match by the host-nation’s Shannon McIlroy, 17-21, with the Blackjack ace now set to tackle Canada’s Ryan Bester, who plays out of Broadbeach on the Gold Coast.
Australia is now guaranteed to conclude the 34-nation quadrennial tournament with at least three gold, three silver and one bronze medal from the eight disciplines, and could still turn two of those silvers into golds.
All four finals will be broadcast live on Fox Sports over the weekend, with Australia’s two encounters both set for tomorrow, with the women’s triples final from 7.00am AEDT and the men’s fours final from 11.00am AEDT.
Men’s singles semi-final: Australia (Aron Sherriff) lost to New Zealand (Shannon McIlroy) 17-21
Men’s fours semi-final: Australia (Barrie Lester, Brett Wilkie, Aaron Wilson, Mark Casey) def Ireland (Simon Martin, Neil Mulholland, Ian McClure, Martin McHugh) 22-10
Women’s triples semi-final: Australia (Carla Krizanic, Natasha Scott, Rebecca Van Asch) def South Africa (Sylvia Burns, Susan Nel, Elma Davis) 17-15
Saturday, December 10 (day eleven)
Women’s triples final – 7.00am – 10.00am AEDT: Australia (Carla Krizanic, Natasha Scott, Rebecca Van Asch) vs Wales (Caroline Taylor, Jess Sims, Kathy Pearce) (Live on Fox Sports 1)
Men’s fours final – 11.00am – 2.00pm AEDT: Australia (Barrie Lester, Brett Wilkie, Aaron Wilson, Mark Casey) vs New Zealand (Mike Nagy, Blake Signal, Mike Kernaghan, Ali Forsyth) (Live on Fox Sports 2)
Sunday, December 11 (day twelve)
Women’s pairs final – 7.00am – 10.00am AEDT: New Zealand (Angela Boyd, Jo Edwards) vs Wales (Laura Daniels, Jess Sims) (Live on Fox Sports 4)
Men’s singles final – 11.00am – 2.00pm AEDT: New Zealand (Shannon McIlroy) vs Canada (Ryan Bester) (Live on Fox Sports 5)