Twenty of Australia’s best teams to contest East Cessnock 5-a-Side

by admin on April 17, 2015

One hundred of the nation’s best bowlers will descend on the Hunter Region next week for the second iteration of the $50,000 East Cessnock 5-A Side tournament.

The event will run from April 20 to 23 and will include three days of four sessions per day of pairs/triples, singles/fours, pairs/triples, singles/fours, after which the top four clubs will contested the semi-finals and grand final.

Bowls Australia has selected a women’s team – featuring four Australian Jackaroos squad members and one NSW/ACT National Training Centre representative – to contest the tournament.

St Johns Park’s reigning dual Australian Open champion Anne Johns was handed the blue-ribbon singles event, and will also line-up in as skip of the triples, while recently converted Club Merryland’s bowler Samantha Shannahan will skip the fours and play third in the tripes discipline.

Shannahan is a late replacement for formerly named Claire Turley, who withdrew from the competition.

Tweed Heads Australian squad member Kristy Thatcher will lead the pairs and fours, while Tasmania’s 2012 world champion Rebecca Van Asch is the only non-New South Welshwoman in the mix, chosen to skip the pairs and fours.

The youngest member to secure a berth is 18 year-old Natalie Noronha, who is also the only inclusion from outside the sport’s top high performance tier, with the Merrylands’ young-gun chosen to lead the triples and slot into second spot of the fours discipline.

In order to hone their skills and teamwork as a collective ahead of the event, the Bowls Australia endorsed team has utilised the sport’s NSW Centre of Excellence, Cabramatta Bowling Club, as a training hub in the lead-up to the event.

“While only it is second year, the East Cessnock 5-A-Side is an important event for our high performance team, providing another opportunity for our players to compete again the nation’s best and our national selectors a chance to scout the sport’s finest,” national coach Steve Glasson said.

“Cabramatta Bowling Club, our NSW Centre of Excellence, will prove an invaluable tool in our preparation for this event, and we are extremely grateful for their continued involvement in ensuring our athletes have best facilities available to them to progress as players.”

Club Helenvale’s Mark Casey, Brett Wilkie, Nathan Rice, Anthony Kiepe and Anthony Fantini claimed the inaugural honours last year, with the prize pool increasing by $10,000 in year two to ensure that 50 per cent of the field receive prize money.

Caption: NSW’s Anne Johns will lead the Bowls Australia team in the blue-ribbon singles at the East Cessnock 5 A Side.