Australia and New Zealand shared the limelight, following the third round of the four new disciplines contested at the 2017 Gold Coast Multi-Nations event at Broadbeach.
The trans Tasman rivals were in red-hot form on the third day of play of the seven-nation event, which saw the start of the men’s singles and fours, and women’s pairs and triples disciplines.
The host-nation has the slight ascendancy going into Tuesday’s last three preliminary rounds, partially because it boasts dual chances in each event, with “Green” and “Gold” teams.
Australia has four teams within the revered top two ladder spots, which is coveted because those placings progress directly to Wednesday’s gold/silver medal decider at the conclusion of Tuesday’s preliminary rounds.
The Jackaroos have the top two positions in the men’s fours, and is second in the men’s singles and triples.
New Zealand sits comfortably atop of two disciplines; the men’s singles and women’s triples.
The Blackjacks’ Shannon McIlroy, the reigning world champion, has again shown his class on the green and is a game clear of his Australian opponents.
The only discipline which Australia or New Zealand don’t feature among the ladder leaders is the women’s pairs, which sees Malaysia one win clear of Scotland.
It was a day to remember for five Australian players, who notched up international milestones on the green, headlined by Kelsey Cottrell recording her 350th cap, while Wayne Ruediger and Carla Krizanic each earned their 150th, and newcomers Aaron Wilson and Ray Pearse registered their 50th international appearance.
In the para-sport component of the event, which is a qualifier for GC2018, Australia’s vision impaired and athletes with a disability players also have the wood over the opposition.
The vision-impaired mixed pairs combination of Lynne Seymour and Jake Fehlberg are a win ahead of second-placed Wales, while the athlete with a disability open triples team of Tony Bonnell, Ken Hanson and Chris Flavel are 24-shots in front of the Kiwis.
Play continues at Broadbeach on Tuesday, with the final three preliminary rounds, and the finals of all eight open and two para-sport disciplines scheduled for Wednesday.