Clarke’s marathon day
A herculean effort from three finals bring gold and two silver for Helensvale star Lynsey Clarke, as Terry Wilson reports for the Gold Coast Bulletin. The gentle sport of lawn bowls could never really be described as physically demanding, although star Gold Coaster Lynsey Clarke is entitled to disagree after a marathon effort at the Australian Open. The 30-year-old captain of the Australian Jackaroos team is believed to have made history by qualifying for three finals – in singles, pairs and fours – at the Open held in Victoria. Clarke (nee Armitage) returned to her Club Helensvale home base with just the one gold medal, skipping the side that won the fours but losing the singles and pairs finals. She lost the singles final 21-19 against good friend Anne Johns and partnered former Coast-based bowler Kelsey Cottrell in a 13-9 loss against Queenslanders Emma Brown and Noelene Dutton. But, in a nice twist, Clarke had Johns as her lead in a team that also comprised Cottrell and Tasmanian Rebecca Van Asch for a win in the fours final. “I believe making three finals was history-making, so I’m pretty happy with one gold and two silvers,” Clarke said. Clarke had a testing final day at the tournament when she played semi-finals of pairs and fours in the morning, finals of those disciplines in the afternoon, then the singles final at night. Her day started at 8am and ended just after 9pm, with precious little time to rest. Clarke’s Helensvale clubmate Brett Wilkie also came home with a silver after losing the men’s singles final 21-19 against Victorian Nathan Wilson, whose brother Aaron was the winner of last year’s title. Another Coast silver medallist was Braidan Leese (Coolangatta), who lost the under-18 boys singles final 21-18 to Sydneysider Dylan Skinner. Clarke, Wilkie and Nathan Rice (Helensvale) will now play for Australia in the Trans-Tasman Challenge after which the Australian squad for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games will be announced. Caption: Cottrell, Van Asch, Clarke and Johns celebrate with the inaugural Australian Open fours trophy.