It was a jubilant Trentan Healey and Scott Walker that made it through the hard two day slog of the preliminary pairs round robin to face up against the the Irish pairing of Mark McPeak and Stuart Bennet on the famous blue portable rink.
Into the first round and it was nailbiting stuff as both pairs took a single apiece in the first two ends with some nip and tuck bowls. The Aussie pair went into a 4-2 lead on end 5 and then the wheels seemed to come off the wagon as the Irish Pair took an amazing 6 on end 6 to go 4-8 and followed that up with a double on the final end to take the first set 4-10.
The second set start saw McPeak and Bennet climb into a 1-4 lead by end 3. It was Healey’s superb bowling that saw the Aussie pair take a single on that end. End 5 and it was superb bowls from Healey and Walker setting up a good head and Bennett was forced into a ytiming shot which just overran and the Aussie pair took a further 4 shots to go 6-4 into end 6. It was Bennett’s turn to the deny the next end as he played a superb weighted shot and took a count of 2 to tie the score at 6 all going into the final end where Healey took a double of the Irish pair to take the second set 8-6.
Into the tie break and McPeak and Bennett outplayed Healey and Walker to take the first end. McPeak and Bennett held shot for end and match lie and it was a superb effort from Healey that saw the shot swing to the Aussies for that end – 1 end each and into the final end. It was the Irish pair that laid two shots with a possible 3 count against the Australians – Healey dug deep and played a superb running bowl to grab the jack and take it 2 feet to the back and a possible measure for shot and game. It was Bennett’s turn to have to dig deep and he played a great bowl which was perfect for line but it just ran through and the Australian pair opted not to play their last bowl confident that hel shot and match lie – and so it proved on the measure and the Australian pair go through to face Robert Paxton and Jonathan Ross on the portable rink in the first of the evenings matches which gives them a bare half hour to change colours and regroup for the next big battle – a tough ask but the Aussie pair said that they would not have it any other way!!