Bowlers roll into town
Bowlers from around the world will head to Thornbury this week for the richest bowls event on the domestic Australian calendar, as Chris Cavanagh reports for the Northcote Leader. The Australian Open will be held at Darebin International Sports Centre on Sunday, with $140,000 in prize money luring the best players to the event. The tournament will run over five days this year, down from seven, to better accommodate overseas and interstate competitors. Other changes to the tournament include triples being dumped in favour of fours’ competition and live music for the crowd. Australian representative Carla Odgers, a reigning Open women’s singles semifinalist said the Australian Open was always the highlight on her calendar. “It’s probably the most prestigious event and being in Victoria it’s nice to have a chance to win an Australian title on your home ground,” the 23-year-old said. “It’s always the priority event of the year so I’m looking forward to it.” The eighth- seeded women’s player going into the event, Odgers said some strong recent form had her confident going into the Open where she will be chasing reigning women’s singles champion and 2014 favourite Lisa Phillips. “I really enjoy playing on the greens at Darebin,” Odgers said. “They’re a lot longer and can be quite tricky. “So to have the home-ground advantage, I like my chances and I’m bowling well at the moment so hopefully I can have a good week.” Despite some sizzling summer weather over the past month, host club Darebin City says its greens are in good nick. President Charles Spiteri said greenkeeper Shane Wadingham had been working hard for months and had the greens in “Al condition” for the tournament. “(Shane) and his team have been working very hard over a long period of time,” Spiteri said. “Their preparation started a long way out, essentially prior to Christmas. So it’s been a long preparation but the greens are running well.” Competition will be played daily from Sunday to next Thursday.