High performance team named for New Zealand hit out

by admin

Just 114 days after the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Bowls Australia’s high performance team have today declared that they will leave no stone unturned in an effort to surpass their past achievements and prepare for the next batch of benchmark international events.

The Australian Jackaroos squad’s focus will shift from the slow, unforgiving Northern Hemisphere conditions, which the contingent spent more than two years practicing for and acclimating to, to the fast tracks found in the Southern Hemisphere, with the teams immediate focal point fixed on Christchurch, New Zealand.

Christchurch will play host to the sport’s pinnacle event, the World Bowls Championships in 2016, and the lead-in Asia Pacific Championships in 2015, with Australian personnel eager to replicate the success accomplished at the 2012 World Championships in Adelaide, where it claimed five gold and two silver medals from eight disciplines.

With Christchurch’s Burnside Bowls Club named as the primary venue for the upcoming international events, Bowls Australia’s high performance team have worked diligently to secure greater opportunities to trial development players and blood young talent on the New Zealand decks, from as early as January next year.

Australia are traditionally afforded two entries into New Zealand’s annual Stewart Buttar Burnside Invitation Pairs event, one women’s pairs and one men’s pairs combination, but next year have been provided eight positions within the draw, allowing 16 players the opportunity to demonstrate their aptitude across the ditch.

“We are extremely grateful to Burnside for extending their generosity by allowing us eight teams in total to participate in the January 2015 tournament,” National Coach Steve Glasson said.

“Preparations are already well advanced for the next lot of benchmark events, including the Asia Pacific Championships in 2015, World Championships in 2016 and then the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and with that, the Australian Selectors have come up with some teams to ‘test the waters’ in New Zealand.

“The teams selected to go over are a mix of youth and experience, and this event will provide the national section panel with an invaluable opportunity to observe these players’ capacity in Christchurch conditions ahead of the Asia Pacific Championships, which will see 15 or more countries compete.”  

Australia’s two recently crowned world junior champions, Dylan Fisher and Chloe Stewart both enter the fray at the open level, while Cabramatta’s Ray Pearse and former Australian squad member Sarah Boddington have both been selected from outside the current Australian Jackaroos or Australia A teams.

Five of Australia’s Commonwealth Games combatants will also have their boarding passes stamped, in Lynsey Clarke, Brett Wilkie, Nathan Rice, Matthew Flapper and Carla Odgers, as will world champion Mark Casey, Australian Open singles titleholder Anne Johns, 2008 world champion Claire Turley, Jackaroos’ Matthew Baus and Samantha Shannahan, and Australia A’s runner-up under-25 world champion Kristina Krstic.  

The Stewart Buttar Burnside Invitation Pairs event will be staged from January 16 to 18 next year, and the 16 players selected are as follows:

1 Kristina Krstic (Manning Memorial Bowling Club, WA) & Carla Odgers (Sunbury, VIC)
2 Sarah Boddington (Tuncurry Beach, NSW) & Claire Turley (Cabramatta, NSW)
3 Sam Shannahan (Avenue, VIC) & Lynsey Clarke (Club Helensvale, QLD)
4 Chloe Stewart (Kyneton, VIC) & Anne Johns (St Johns Park, NSW)  
5 Ray Pearse (Cabramatta, NSW) & Matthew Flapper (Ocean Grove, VIC)
6 Aaron Wilson (Brighton, VIC) & Nathan Rice (Club Helensvale, QLD)  
7 Dylan Fisher (Fitzroy Victoria, VIC) & Mark Casey (Club Helensvale, QLD)  
8 Matthew Baus (Raymond Terrace, NSW) & Brett Wilkie (Club Helensvale, QLD)