National titles headed to Apple Isle
Over 190 of the nation’s premier bowlers will descend on the Apple Isle at the end of the month, with Tasmania’s South Burnie Bowls Club set to stage three of the biggest events on the sport’s national calendar. The Super 6 series will commence proceedings on Friday, March 28, with six men and six women representing each and every state and territory in singles, pairs and triples in front of the national selectors. Three sectional rounds will be played on Friday, from 9.00am to 5.00pm, with finals staged at 9.30am on Saturday, March 29. The time-honoured Australian Sides Championship, which has an illustrious history dating back to 1959, is the sport’s only national state versus state competition, and will be held from March 31 to April 3. Featuring the top 12 men and women from each state and territory across the nation over four days, with the revered Alley Shield being awarded to the victorious men’s team and the coveted Marj Morris Trophy handed to the winning women’s outfit. The 2013 Australian Sides Championships saw New South Wales become just the second state to claim all three trophies on offer, taking home the Shield, Trophy and the Overall State Champions trophy after edging out host state Victoria in a tight finish. The defending champion have named a strong team for the event as it looks to turn its status as pre-tournament favourites into another clean sweep of the silverware with some of the biggest names in the sport, such as Aron Sherriff, Karen Murphy and freshly crowned 2014 Australian Open women’s singles champion Anne Johns set to take to the green. Former Maroon-turned-Blue, Commonwealth Games gold medallist and former World Champion, Mark Casey has returned to the Queensland team, joining the likes of Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kelvin Kerkow OAM and Australian Jackaroo vice-captain Brett Wilkie, in a big coup for the state as it looks to reassert its dominance over the men’s event that it has won four of the last six occasions. While they have never claimed a trophy at the Australian Sides Championships, Tasmania will look to benefit from the home ground advantage, naming a well-credentialed team featuring Jackaroo Rebecca Van Asch and Bowls Australia’s Under-18 Male Bowler of the Year award finalist Michael Sims alongside experienced state representatives. The third event to feature on the island is the sport’s annual Awards Night, which aims to recognise the year’s most outstanding athletes, administrators and media, and will be staged in front of a 300 capacity audience at the Burnie Arts & Function Centre on Saturday, March 29. Limited tickets are available to purchase for the awards gala dinner from bowlsaustralia.com.au, and spectators can take advantage of the free admission at South Burnie Bowls Club to watch best bowlers in the country at the Super 6 and Australian Sides Championship from March 28 to April 3. Caption: Tasmania’s Rebecca Van Asch will be instrumental in the host state’s chances of success.