Ruediger brings UK conditions to Grange

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Wayne Ruediger is determined to help Australia’s Commonwealth Games lawn bowls squad snap its barren run on slow, damp northern hemisphere greens, as Matt Turner reports for the Weekly Times Messenger. Australia has always sent lawn bowlers to the Commonwealth Games (originating in 1930 as the British Empire Games), but has netted just two gold medals north of the equator – in Canada in 1994 and Malaysia four years later. In a bid to change that form, Ruediger, 37, has curated a personal practice rink at Grange Bowling Club to fit the conditions he expects to play in at this month’s Games in Glasgow. The club’s greenkeeper and star player has left the grass slightly longer, watered it more than usual and practised in the rain to simulate the traditionally sluggish UK greens. “I’ve been able to set up a green that I’ve been able to practise on, which has been really good and helpful,” Ruediger says. “I’ve pretty much done nothing to the green for four months. “I’ve left it long, left it furry, left it soft. “(In the UK) grass is a touch longer, it’s softer and they get a lot of wet weather. “The rain’s been good – it’s been good to get out there in the occasional shower because there’s a chance we’ll get those conditions over in Scotland.” Ruediger, of Andrews Farm, says the markedly different conditions will make it difficult for the Aussies to come home with many medals but they will take confidence from their last major tournament in Glasgow. In August last year, Australia’s men won overall in the Eight Nations Invitational in Scotland. “I think realistically, if you look at the way we’ve gone in the northern hemisphere in forever … it’ll be a big thing for us to win a couple of gold.” Regardless of the result, Ruediger, who made his Australian debut in 2012, says competing at his first Commonwealth Games will be a dream come true. “You always want to play for your country but to make the step is big and to get that opportunity is even better. “I’ll do my best to make the most of it.”