Sunday, August 4 –Day 1 of Competition
Day 1 of competition included Pairs and Team play. Team USA started the day with BC4 Pairs playing against #1 ranked Brazil. Brazils’ BC4 Pairs were the 2012 Paralympic Champions, 2011 World Cup Champions and the 2011 World Championship Gold Mdalists. The 2013 Americas Cup is the first time Team USA has entered a BC4 Pairs team in international play. The match was close from the start with Charles Brown (FL) scoring a point with his last ball for a 1-1 tie after the first end. Denise DeMello (FL) played the jack for the second end and Team USA scored 1 point to lead 2-1 at the mid way point. Brazil bounced back in the third, but Team USA held them to only 1 point for a 2-2 tie after 3 ends. Charles Brown played the jack in the fourth end and “kissed” the jack with his first throw. The advantage went back and forth with each roll with the final advantage in a very tight game going to Brazil with a final score of 3-2. An outstanding first match for the rookie BC4 Pairs, Charles Brown and Denise DeMello.
Charles Brown and BC4 partner, Denise DeMello had a tough double playing #3 ranked Canada in their second game, after playing #1 ranked Brazil in their first game. So often in Boccia the difference in a win or a loss can be the throw of a single ball. Charles Brown wished he could have that one throw back. A bad throw in the first end opened the door for Canada to score 5 points. The USA Pair played them close 1-2 from that point on, but lost 7-1.
The third BC4 game of the day was against unranked Chili. Team USA was confident going in. Head Coach Jim Thomson commented “we have played 7 great ends out of 8 against two of the best BC4 Pairs in the world, we are ready for a win.” Team USA started well scoring points in the first two ends. Chili rebounded back into the game scoring a point in the third and fourth end to tie the game 2-2 and force a fifth overtime end. It came down to the last throw and Chili scored a singe point to win.
In Team play the USA called on BC2 players AB Anwar (CA) and Marck Harrison (OH) and BC1 player Cornelius Oatis (OH) to take on 12th ranked Canada. Team USA had trouble finding the jack which allowed a well discipline Canadian team the chance to score points. Team USA showed good defensive play early. Canada scored 2 points in first and only 1 point in the second end. Things got away from them in the third and Canada extended their lead to 7-0. Team USA gave up another 4 in the fifth and Canada won easily 12-1.
In their second match of the day, Team USA faced 10th ranked Argentina who had an earlier round win over South Africa. Team USA played the same trio as in game 1 and the team seemed to have warmed up and found their range. Team USA scored a single point in each of the first three ends to lead Argentina 3-0 at the midway point. Argentina proved they deserve a top ten world ranking and chipped back scoring one point in the 4th, 5th and final end to tie the score 3-3. The coin toss set the stage for overtime with Team USA winning the toss and getting the first throw in OT. AB Anwar was given the green light from Team Captain Cornelius Oatis to play first. AB “kissed” the jack and the game was over. Argentina had 6 attempts to better AB’s opening throw and couldn’t, giving the OT win to Team USA and a chance to medal on Monday.
Team USA BC3 Pairs made up of Austin Hanson (KS), Charles Fleisch (NY) and Fawad Zakai started Day 1 against 10th ranked Brazil. Team USA got off to a slow start allowing Brazil to score 2 points in the first end. Head Coach Gary Barraclough called a timeout to settle his players down and Team USA shutout Brazil for the rest of the game. In a very defensive game, Team USA score 2 in the second, 1 in the third and the game winner in the fourth end to finish with a score of 4-2. A great comeback win and opening game for the BC3 Pairs.
The last match of Day 1 slated Team USA against 5th ranked Canada in the BC3 division. Team USA had a tough start giving up 3 points in the first end. From that point on the USA squad played the Canadians even, but the damage had been done as Canada won 5-2.
Team USA needs to play well on Monday to be in the running for a medal. They start the day off against Argentina at 10:00 am and play their last game at 5:30. They key will be a good start and keeping their players focus with a 6 hour break between games.
Monday, August 5 Day 2 Matches
10:00 am BC4 Pairs: USA vs Colombia
BC3 Pairs: USA vs Argentina
Team BC1/BC2 USA vs Brazil
12:30 BC4 Pairs: USA vs Mexico
Team BC1/BC2 USA vs South Africa
3:00 pm BC4 Pairs USA vs Argentina
Team BC1/BC2 USA vs Mexico
5:30 pm BC3 Pairs USA vs Colombia
Team BC1/BC2 USA vs Colombia
GOOD LUCK TEAM USA!