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- 09. October 2010.
Aussies charge through preliminaries
XIX Commonwealth Games: Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex, New Delhi, India
Australia advanced through the preliminary rounds at the Delhi Commonwealth Games unscathed today (9/10) after its women's pairs joined their triple teammates in the post-sectional matches.
During two heart-stopping sessions, Lynsey Armitage and Natasha Van Eldik survived a cliffhanger with the Cook Islands' Tugane Tere and Tangata Tokorangi 11-3, 10-13, 6-1 to claim top spot in Pool A, advancing directly through to Monday's semi-finals where they are now one win away from a berth in the gold medal match.
While Mark Berghofer and Aron Sherriff's nine game winning streak was snapped during the morning session, the Australians made an immediate return to the winners' list with a 10-5, 8-8 victory over the third-ranked Scottish combination of Neil Speirs and Darren Burnett, but the split second set consigned them to second position in their group and a cut-throat quarter-final at 9.30pm AEDST tomorrow (9/10).
Despite entering this afternoon's final group match in first place, Armitage, the defending champion, and her teenage skip could ill afford to drop their showdown with Tere and Tokorangi and appeared to have the result in hand before the momentum started to shift.
Trailing 0-1 after the opening end of the tie-break, the Australians campaign, which had been marred by a lack of luck on the opening two days, finally took a turn for the better as Tokorangi roared down the TV rink with her final effort on the second end down two in the head and could only succeed in dislodging her third wood to give her opponents a count of five.
The victory catapulted Armitage and Van Eldik into the medal rounds.
"Things have fallen our way, which finally we've got a bit of luck," a relieved Armitage said following the preliminary rounds.
"Hopefully it's all positive from here now."
With Australia's men's and women's triples finishing second in their respective pools, Sharyn Renshaw, Claire Duke and Julie Keegan will now meet Malaysia's Nur Fidrah Noh, Azlina Arshad and Zuraini Khalid for the right to play India, while Brett Wilkie, Wayne Turley and Mark Casey will do likewise against Azin Azami Mohd Ariffin, Syed Mohamad Akil and Mohd Amir Yusof, with the winner going on to meet England.
The pairs' draws are yet to be released.