David v Goliath
David v Goliath battles will be happening across the board in the first day of men’s singles at the Australian Open, but none may be greater than what will unfold at Club Helensvale today.
The Memorial Bowling Club in Alice Springs has 25 members and is 1200km away from the nearest bowling club; so for club member Ray Dienelt he believed the concept of the Australian Open being open for everyone was brilliant and he certainly wanted to be a part of it here on the Gold Coast.
After selling the Australian Open as a family holiday Dienelt got the event passed by the Senate (wife and children) and the keen bowler from Outback Australia went about entering in all three disciplines.
Upon arriving at the Memorial Bowls Club for a rollup, Dienelt was poised with an intriguing question from a fellow member; do you want the good news or the bad news?
The draw for the Australian Open had been realised and Ray Dienelt had drawn the world’s greatest bowler, Scotland’s Alex Marshall MBE; however an ever positive Dienelt failed to hear any bad news.
“To be honest, I don’t think I have ever been so elated. I think some of the guys at the club were thinking I’d be disappointed because winning through the section into the next round would be so difficult; however I just felt so fortunate to think that I have the chance to play one of the sports all-time greats,” Mr Dienelt said.
“This is a once in a lifetime experience for me and highlights how lucky we are to play this great game. What other sport gives a regular club player from Outback Australia the chance to play against a World Champion from Scotland.”
“It’s like a club golfer being given the chance to play Tiger Woods – you’d take it every day of the week – surely.”
So one week Dienelt is playing bowls in one of the most remote bowling clubs in the country, a club that can’t even play pennant because the nearest opposition is 1200km away, and the next week he is on the Gold Coast taking on the 4 time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and 19 time World Champion!
To add to the difficultly of his task here at the Australian Open, former Australian representative Sean Baker is also drawn in Dienelt’s singles section.
Dienelt has taken a special interest in Sean Baker’s career as he began his career in the Northern Territory, and now 15 years later he gets the honour of playing against one of the Territory’s greatest prodigies.
“I have watched Baker’s career from a distance with great interest over the years and was very happy for him when he made the Australian Team to play South Africa a few years ago,” Mr Dienelt said.
After such a deadly singles draw Dienelt will be looking forward to joining friends in the pairs and fours, and whilst they won’t strike any world champions the task of getting through sectional play in the world’s richest bowls event will still not be easy.
Dienelt has a great attitude toward the Australian Open and the sport he loves and has some great advice for those who may not have entered this year’s event.
“I think the title of the competition says it all ‘Australian Open’. It’s a great chance for everyone to join in and compete, and players of any level should feel as though they deserve a place in the field,” Mr Dienelt said.
“The results will look after themselves, just come and play, you will enjoy yourself and you might just cause an upset.”
Win lose or draw today, Dienelt will have plenty of stories to share back in Alice Springs of his adventures and hopefully triumphs on the bowling greens of the Gold Coast!