Young veteran aims for bowls gold
It’s not lawn bowls as you think you know it, Paul Mulvey reports for AAP and the Sydney Morning Herald. It’s more likely to be green dye than blue rinse and Red Bull than red sherry. At the ripe old age of 24, Kelsey Cottrell is a veteran of the Australian team, having first represented her country nine years ago. Indeed, the average age of Australia’s bowlers at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is 31, the same as the national cricket team which reclaimed the Ashes last summer. Lawn bowls is now, at the international level anyway, a young person’s game. “When I started I was guilty of thinking it was quite an older person’s game and I was quite concerned for my mum who I thought was far too young to be playing bowls,” Cottrell said. “It’s probably a bit more physical than people realise. “It’s mostly mental or tactical, but at an event like the Commonwealth Games we’ll be playing 10 days straight from eight in the morning to seven at night and be on our feet all day.” Cottrell is one of 10 able-bodied bowlers who, along with five para bowlers will be chasing 10 gold medals at the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre. She wants to go two better than the bronze she won in the singles in Delhi in 2010 and will also partner Karen Murphy and Lynsey Clarke in the triples. All three are world champions – Cottrell won the pairs at the 2012 Adelaide world titles, while Murphy took out the singles and joined Clarke to win the triples. Men’s world champions Brett Wilkie, Aron Sherriff and Wayne Ruediger also strengthen Australia’s formidable look on paper. But things could be very different on thick Scottish grass. While Australia won seven of the 10 world titles on offer in Adelaide, Scotland won the other three and the slow greens and unpredictable weather in Glasgow will suit the home team. Cottrell admitted the conditions make the Scots favourites, while England will also exploit near-home ground advantage. “They’re hot favourites, but we’re ready to beat them,” Cottrell said.