Aussies named for 8-nations event in Scotland
19 bowlers selected for entree to Commonwealth Games The question of who will represent the green and gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year may have been answered after today’s announcement of the Australian team to contest the 8-nations event in Glasgow from August 26-30 – or has it?
Nineteen Australian bowlers will travel to the UK in just over six weeks for the traditional host city lead-up to the Commonwealth Games. The team of 19 includes a strong blend of experience and youthful exuberance in the 13-person Jackaroos touring team as well as two of the country’s most talented and aspiring bowlers with a vision impairment, accompanied by two directors, and four Para-Sport bowlers, who will compete at the same event in August and at the Commonwealth Games next year.
National Coach Steve Glasson emphasises those given a boarding pass for the flight to Scotland have received one based on their ability to perform in the conditions expected but nothing is assured in terms of Games selection.
Led by team vice-captains, World No 2 Karen Murphy and International Bowler of the Year Aron Sherriff, the team for the 8-nations event boasts nine World Champions and two Commonwealth Games Gold Medallists and collectively have represented Australia on over 1700 occasions.
The 8-nations Jackaroos team includes Mark Casey (NSW), Kelsey Cottrell (NSW), Murphy (NSW), Matthew Flapper (VIC), Carla Odgers (VIC), Barrie Lester (VIC), Rebecca Van Asch (Quail) (TAS), Nathan Rice (QLD), Claire Turley (Duke) (NSW), Wayne Ruediger (SA), Sherriff (NSW), Natasha Van Eldik (NSW) and Brett Wilkie (QLD).
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Two players, Casey and Murphy have experienced the pinnacle of winning Commonwealth Games gold while they both join Cottrell, Van Asch, Turley, Ruediger, Sherriff, Van Eldik and Wilkie as World Champions from the last two events in 2008 in Christchurch and 2012 in Adelaide.
The prestigious 8-nations event, which kicks off on August 26, will be staged at the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Club in Glasgow, the host venue of bowls at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The Australian Jackaroos will arrive in Scotland having won five gold and two silver medals at the most recent World Championships in Adelaide last December in the most dominant display in the history of the event but Glasson is quick to state that this event is a vastly different scenario.
“Conditions in Adelaide were quick and fast and suited our game very well but now we travel into foreign territory and much slower greens so we need to be prepared for very different conditions.
“Naturally those selected have been selected on merit and displayed an ability to adapt to the tricky conditions we expect in Scotland which augers well for them in terms of making the Games team but by no means does it indicate a walk-up start to the biggest ticket in town which is a place in the Australian team for the Games,” Glasson said.
“We have undertaken a robust training regime over the past couple of months including replicating Glasgow-like conditions at the Maribyrnong Park Bowls Club in Melbourne to ensure we were ready to select the most competitive and suitable combination of bowlers to play against the best nations in world bowls,” Glasson said.
“We won’t be taking any other country lightly which is why we have spent considerable time to prepare our squad accordingly.
Australia will join New Zealand, England, South Africa, Malaysia, Canada and two teams from host nation Scotland in the 8-nation event.
The national selection panel in consultation with Australian Blind Bowlers Association (ABBA) National Coach Graeme Clements, and Australian Athletes with a Disability Coach Jan Palazzi have named two players, Marian Morrison and Tony Scott in the Bowlers with a Vision Impairment mixed pairs team while Joshua Barry, Anthony Bonnell, Barry Charity and Tim Slater have been named to represent Australia in the Para-Sport triples competition in Glasgow. Both of these two categories will compete for full medals at the Commonwealth Game in July next year.