Odgers feels at home in senior ranks
Young Victorian ace Carla Odgers may be making her debut in the Australian senior Trans-Tasman team during the upcoming series at the Traralgon Bowls Club but she feels very much at home in the top echelon of Australian bowls. Odgers, 23 was joined by Australian-based New Zealand Blackjack representative Ali Forsyth in Traralgon yesterday to launch the 2014 renewal of the annual test series between bowls’ fiercest rivals – Australia and New Zealand – to be held from March 18-20 in Victoria’s Gippsland region. After four years playing for the Australian development team before earning her first senior Trans-Tasman selection, Odgers believes recent hard work on her game bodes well for her to fit straight into the Trans-Tasman senior side amongst some of the sport’s most established players. “It’s one of the pinnacles really,” Odgers said who will play for Australia for the first time on home soil “To be playing with those girls (Karen Murphy, Lynsey Clarke, Kelsey Cottrell and Natasha Scott), they’ve all got great track records so to be considered in amongst those girls is really exciting. “I’ve been working really hard on the slow pace, trying hard to get use to that and working hard on my skills and things I need improve on to make myself as good as those other girls and to be considered,” Odgers said. “I’m feeling really confident, I think I belong in that group now and really looking forward to showing that to everybody.” Forsyth, a ‘veteran’ of six previous Trans-Tasman encounters, rates the clashes between Australia and New Zealand as one of the most important on the annual calendar. “This is one of the big events outside of Commonwealth Games and World Bowls and to represent your country at any time is great but against the Australians is one of the biggest ones because it’s the greatest test. “We got a really strong squad of players,” Forsyth said of the New Zealand teams selected to travel to Australia. “Everyone is keen to play well because there are Commonwealth Games spots at the end of the day that are up for grabs so every is keen to play well. History will tell that Trans-Tasman competition is always fierce and nothing is left in the locker-room but both nations have a strong and vibrant mutual respect and friendship between the teams that ensures these battles are always played in good spirit. “That (friendship) is something that has got better and better over the years. “We love to kick each other on the green but off the green we tend to have a pretty good time,” Forsyth said. The Trans-Tasman boasts 74 competitors from both Australia and New Zealand with five men and five women from each country competing in each of the senior, development and under-18 teams while four from each nation make up the Vision Impaired Mixed Pairs combinations, including Directors, and three players each in the Bowlers with a Disability triples competition over the three days of the event. Play on day one (March 18), commences at 9am. Daily admission to the Traralgon Bowls Club for the Trans-Tasman is free-of-charge. Click here to see BATV’s coverage of the launch including interviews with Odgers, Forsyth, Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple and Traralgon Bowls Club Chairman, Austin Gapper.