Love can overcome state bias
Andrew Howie might have a strong ACT bias, but when he’s watching partner Kelsey Cottrell play for NSW at the Australian Sides Championships in Tasmania deep down he’ll be hoping she wins, as David Polkinghorne reports for the Canberra Times. The pair met more than a decade ago while playing at junior national championships and eventually got together 15 months ago. Cottrell, one of the best female bowlers in the world who started playing for Australia when she was 15, has moved to Canberra to be with Howie, who’s a member of the Aussie development squad. They both won the singles titles at last year’s Super Sixes and Cottrell’s NSW is the defending women’s sides champion. Advertisement She’s also been named in Australia’s Commonwealth Games squad for Glasgow in July. It makes them the perfect pair, both on and off the green. It also means they’ve always got someone to train with as they go through the strict training regimes given to them by Bowls Australia, whether it’s at Howie’s club Weston Creek or at Belconnen – just around the corner from their home. For Howie the trip to Burnie is twofold – to show the national selectors he’s ready to take the next step into the senior squad as well as help the ACT improve on a disappointing 2013 in the Sides, where they won only one game. He’s hoping they can raise that to four victories. And he knows he’ll be up against it in the Super Singles, with Australian gun Aron Sherriff and former international Anthony Kiepe in the field. Howie knew he wasn’t in the running for the Commonwealth Games squad “a year ago” with the Gold Coast in 2018 the goal. “When NSW plays ACT in the women, deep down I’m maybe still going for her,” he said with a laugh. “But I always like to see the ACT women do well, they had a great year last year [finishing third] and hopefully they can replicate that.” While Howie was trying to ramp up his involvement at the national level, Cottrell is considering winding hers back. Part of the move from Sydney, where she still plays for the powerful St John’s Park, was for work purposes having finished her journalism degree last year. Starting her career is on hold until after Glasgow, when she’ll decide whether to push on towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, in her native state. Having the chance to represent Australia alongside Howie was a definite drawcard, but the 23-year-old burst onto the scene nine years ago as a teenager and could step away from the international scene to focus on work. Then she might even suit up for the ACT. “We’ve actually known each since I was 13 or 14 at one of my first junior championships,” Cottrell said. “So we’ve always kept in contact with that and the beauty of playing for your state is you’re at the same events all the time … and eventually got together.” The Super Sixes begins on Friday, with the finals on Saturday, before the Sides Championships get under way on Monday.