The preliminary rounds are over with only the finals to come in the inaugural Asia Pacific Cup.
Japan finished the rounds with a perfect record, winning six-from-six to back up its standing of second in the world while Australia are snapping at their heels in second with important hard-fought wins over China and Chinese Taipei, the other two sides who round out the top four.
It means that the highest two-ranked sides in the competition will be on opposite sides of the draw for the semi-finals. Japan are in ominous form, having won 9-1 over Chinese Taipei and 9-0 over the All Stars to finish off the round robin games.
However, for Australia and Japan to play off in the inaugural Asia Pacific Cup final, the Spirit will have to get over the top of China, who gave them a great match in the final fixture of the preliminary rounds, taking an early lead before the Spirit came back for a 4-1 win. Similarly, Japan will have their hands full with world number five Chinese Taipei, despite the day three’s result.
Troy Baverstock said Australia’s performance was a good sign for the final day of the tournament.
“We had a really tough game against Japan and we knew it would be tough. What we spoke about was getting out lead off on and getting them around and coming together as a team with the bats and the girls did that all day, so I’m really happy with what they did out there,” he said.
“They’re going to step up tomorrow and we’ll have to step up another level as well if we want to get to the final and play whoever else makes the final.”
It was another milestone day for an Australian player with NSW star Stacey McManus playing her 100th game for the Aussie Spirit.
She said it was an honour to reach the milestone.
“It was pretty good because I knew I was close to playing hundred games so to have it here and be able to play it in front of my home crowd in NSW just means the world,” she said.
“I’ve played for a few years now so every time you get the opportunity to pull on the jersey it’s a great achievement and you don’t really count how many games you get, you just love the opportunity every time you get out on the field.”
Asked about what she’s looking forward to ahead of tomorrow’s semi-final clash with China ahead of a possible Asia Pacific Cup final in the afternoon, McManus said it would be a great match up.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” she said. “I think the more challenges we have as a team, the better we’ll get at approaching the game and beating them. If we come up against China tomorrow and have another tough game, we’re only going to get better for the game against Japan or Chinese Taipei. It’s always good playing the Asian countries because they’re always tough and play it different to us.”
Results – Day 3
Schedule – Day 4
9am – 6th V 7th – Italy Vs New Zealand @ Diamond 3
11.30am – 5th place play-off – All Stars Vs Winner of 6th V 7th @ Diamond 3
11.30am – SF1 – 1st Vs 4th – Japan Vs Chinese Taipei @ Diamond 2
11.30am – SF2 – 2nd Vs 3rd – Aussie Spirit Vs China @ Diamond 1
2pm – Asia Pacific Cup Final – Winner of SF1 Vs Winner of SF2 @ Diamond 1