Australian Jackaroos and A squads named

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In the aftermath of last week’s time-honoured Australian Sides Championships, Bowls Australia have announced the 20 men and women selected in the sport’s national squad, the Australian Jackaroos, and the eight second-tier Australia A squad members for 2014. The Australian Sides Championships, staged in Tasmania from March 31 to April 3, provided a final opportunity for the national selection panel to confirm the athletes entrusted with international representation for the next 15 months – concluding at the end of the 2015 Australian Open on the Gold Coast in June. Headlining the Jackaroos contingent are the 10 members who booked their ticket to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games last month, including Queensland’s Club Helensvale trio, Lynsey Clarke, Brett Wilkie and Nathan Rice, NSW’s Kelsey Cottrell, Karen Murphy, Natasha Scott and Aron Sherriff, Victoria’s Carla Odgers and Matthew Flapper, and South Australia’s Wayne Ruediger. Earning inclusion in the sport’s main squad this year are NSW’s Mathew Pietersen, who last held a position in the squad in 2012, and Anne Johns, who claimed two national titles at February’s Australian Open, while Queensland’s Kristy Thatcher and Victoria’s Samantha Shannahan both earned promotion from the Australia A squad. Demonstrating the generational evolution of the sport at the top high performance tiers, the average age of the Australian Jackaroos squad is a youthful 29.3, with the mean age of the five men 30.7 years, while the average age of the women is only 27.9. Among those unable to retain their positions were NSW’s Shane Garvey and Victoria’s Lisa Phillips. The Australia A squad, which serves as a potential feeder group into the national squad, has been further strengthen with the addition of young blood, with only two of the eight members above 19 years of age. Five players have retained their spot in the contingent, which has been reduced from 20, including South Australian elder statesmen Scott Thulborn, 30, 2012 Australian Open singles champion Aaron Wilson, 2013 National Champion of Champion runner-up Kristina Krstic and the former Under-18 Male and Female Bowler of the Year winners Sean Ingham and Renee McPharlin. Energising the team are the young-gun additions of Western Australia’s Matthew Ayres, 19, Queensland’s Bolivia Millerick, 19, and Victoria’s recently crowned Under-18 Female Bowler of the Year award winner Chloe Stewart, 18. National coach, Steve Glasson OAM believes both line-ups boast world class ability that will see them reach great heights. “I congratulate all the athletes who have been selected, they have all demonstrated exceptional talent and potential and will represent the country with distinction at international competitions over the next year,” Glasson said. “The Jackaroos team boasts the right blend of experience and youth, and the national coaches and selectors are excited about the coming year, particularly the much anticipated Commonwealth Games in few short months time. “We are extremely happy with the squad we have assembled and I congratulate the players and look forward to working with them.” Australian Jackaroos – Men Matthew Baus (25, Raymond Terrace, NSW) Mark Casey (32, Club Helensvale, QLD) Dylan Fisher (20, Melbourne Bowling Club, VIC) Matthew Flapper (35, Ocean Grove Bowling Club, VIC) Barrie Lester (32, Mulgrave Country Club, VIC) Mathew Pietersen (25, Cabramatta Bowling Club, NSW) Nathan Rice (34, Club Helensvale, QLD) Wayne Ruediger (37, Grange Bowling Club, SA) Aron Sherriff (28, Ettalong Memorial Bowling Club, NSW) Brett Wilkie (39, Club Helensvale, QLD) Australian Jackaroos – Women Lynsey Clarke (30, Club Helensvale, QLD) Kelsey Cottrell (23, St Johns Park Bowling Club, NSW) Anne Johns (33, St Johns Park Bowling Club, NSW) Karen Murphy (39, Cabramatta Bowling Club, NSW) Carla Odgers (23, Lalor Bowling Club, VIC) Natasha Scott (23, Raymond Terrace Bowling Club, NSW) Samantha Shannahan (24, Avenue Bowling Club, VIC) Kristy Thatcher (28, …