Super 6 set to showcase sport’s stars in Tasmania

by admin

The return of numerous past champions, as well as handful of exciting new title threats, ensures this year’s Super 6 series will be a fiercely competitive showcase of Australia’s brightest bowls talents, as it ignites a week long festival of elite competition in Tasmania on Friday (28/3). With each state and territory selecting their six best male and six best female bowlers, the South Burnie Bowls Club will play host to a litany of Australia’s, and the world’s, most successful players all vying to impress national selectors and earn a slice of glory for their state. Serving as a pre-Australian Sides Championships warm-up, this event will mirror the Commonwealth Games, pitting bowlers against each other in slightly modified traditional format of singles, pairs and triples competitions – with discipline winner’s medals and state honour the ultimate prizes on the line. Defending women’s singles champion NSW’s Kelsey Cottrell is looking to retain her crown as she battles against a field that includes 18 year-old Queensland young-gun Natasha Jones and Jackaroos teammate and 2013 runner-up, local hope Rebecca Van Asch. In the pairs, reigning titleholders Kristy Thatcher and Lynsey Clarke will look to defend their crowns, but will be pitted against other pre-tournament standouts, former Scottish international Kay Moran and 475-game Australian veteran Karen Murphy in their first encounter, which could be all that separates the two from berth in the gold medal play-off. With Moran slotting into the pairs discipline, recent Australian Open singles and fours champion Anne Johns steps into NSW’s 2013 gold medal triples side this year, alongside Katrina Wright and world champion Natasha Scott. In the men’s singles competition, 2012 and 2013 Bowls Australia International Bowler of the Year award winner, and 2012 Super 6 singles winner, Aron Sheriff will be hoping to get NSW’s visit to Burnie off to a winning start as he stares down a draw featuring match-ups against former Australian representative Anthony Kiepe, Victorian-turned-Tasmanian Lee Schraner and South Australia’s Adelaide Endurance ace Scott Thulborn. Also looming ominously is the draw is ACT’s Andrew Howie who has his sight set on a double, with a draw that includes Northern Territory’s Ian Smith, Victoria’s 20 year-old Australian Jackaroo Dylan Fisher and Western Australia’s Stuart Bainbridge. Tasmanian defending pairs champions Michael Sims and Robert McMullen will be hoping to take advantage of their insight into the unique Apple Isle conditions to retain their crown, but face a tough test in a competition that includes such formidable pairings as NSW’s Matt Baus and Wayne Turley and Queensland world champion duo Brett Wilkie and Mark Casey- with Casey having returned to the Maroons after a year with NSW. Also hoping to claim the men’s pairs title from Sims and McMullen is the Western Australian partnership of 2013 Australian Open men’s singles runner-up Matthew Ayres and skip Matthew Ellul, with the Sandgropers looking to make amends after missing out on a gold medal last year. NSW’s victorious 2013 men’s triples side goes into the 2014 event unchanged as Shane Garvey, Ben Twist and Ray Pearse were all named to make the trip across the Tasman. The sectional matches will take place on Friday, with gold, silver and bronze play-offs held on Saturday morning. The sport’s annual Awards Night, where Tasmania’s Michael Sims is in the running for the Under-18 Male Bowler of the Year award, will be staged on Saturday night at the Bunie Arts & Function Centre, while the Australian Sides Championships will see more than 190 of the nation’s best bowlers converge for competition from March 31 to April 3. Caption: Tasmania’s Australian Jackaroos member Rebecca Van Asch will aim to go one step further than her silver medal in the Super 6 women’s singles this year