Japan and Australia book final berths
Pretoria - Tri-Nation Day for South African Wheelworks, as they encountered New Zealand Wheel blacks and Australian Steelers on Day 3 of the 2013 Asia-Oceania Championship, at the LC de Villiers Sports Complex, University of Pretoria, in South Africa.
In the first match of the day, New Zealand led by only two goals at the end of the first quarter, and by six by the end of the third. Tighter defense from South Africa and an increase in goals, the local team managed to restrict New Zealand to within a six-goal lead. It came down to superb teamwork between Cameron Leslie and Captain Dan Buckingham that led the Wheel blacks to victory on a final score of 40 to South Africa’s reply of 23.
The long anticipated clash between Japan and Australia got under way at midday, the previous scheduled encounter yesterday, having been forfeited by Australia due to illness. Australia‘s Ryley Bat putting eight points on the board, gave Australia a five goal led going into the second quarter, the margin narrowed to within four at the end of the quarter. Bat and Chris Bond paired up and scored all 15 points in the third quarter, and doubled the goal margin to eight at the beginning of the fourth and final quarter.
Tough challenges were made by both teams, and long ball play from the Japanese assisted Shinichi Shimakawa in putting away nine of the 15 goals posted in the final quarter. Bat and Bond had a goal fest in response, and managed to hold off attack from the Japanese to secure a win by a six-point margin ending on 52 to 46.
After lunch South Africa were back on court against Australia, and put 20 goals passed the local team in the first quarter alone through sublime play by Jayden Warn and Chris Bond. A hard battering saw South Africa’s Johnny Sutil see the floor, only to roll over and begin putting in a few push-ups much to the delight of local spectators. Although the South Africans improved their score line from the first meeting against Australia, the reigning gold medalists showed their prowess and took the match 56 to 27 on the final whistle.
All eyes were on the final match of the day between Japan and New Zealand. New Zealand needed a win to be in contention for a berth in the gold medal final tomorrow. For three quarters of the match, goals came in quick succession from both teams. It was only in the final quarter that Japan attained the biggest lead of just four points. No horizontal back bending moves by New Zealand’s captain Dan Buckingham could stop a quick succession of three goals by Daisuke Ikesaki, to increase Japans lead by seven.
In the final two minutes of the match, Wheelblack Cameron Leslie put three goals passed the Japanese. Once again, Ikesaki stormed the defense and drove in four goals in quick response to take the match for Japan 55 to 48.
The final day of this world championship qualifier seeks New Zealand take on South Africa in the bronze medal play off at midday, whilst the gold medal contenders Australia and Japan take to the court at 14h00, followed by the closing ceremony and medal presentations.
For live streaming of the final day and closing ceremony visit www.iwrf.com. Local spectators are encouraged to get down to the venue and show support and be inspired by this adrenalin pumping action. Entrance is free.