Jackaroos End Games On Historic Note

by Aaron Delaporte on August 8, 2022

Birmingham 2022, a tournament to be remembered amongst the Australian bowling fraternity for eternity.

Originally Published on the Bowls Australia website


The history books were rewritten for the Jackaroos, who topped the dais on three occasions on UK soil, a previously barren body of land that had quashed the hopes and dreams of the green and gold army for decades.

But not this year, with a maiden first-place final medal tally finish in Britain, and just the second ever first-place finish abroad, following Auckland 1990.

The Australian squad enjoyed their most successful overseas Commonwealth Games, eclipsing that of Auckland 1990 where the team also won a trio of gold, but two less silver medals than what the nation did this week.

To make the event even more special, in terms of medal tallies, this was Australia’s second most successful Games in history, only outdone by the five gold medals won at Gold Coast 2018.

Throughout the tournament, records were set, broken and matched, with members of the green and gold entering the realms of immortality on the greens of Royal Leamington Spa.

Starting with Ellen Ryan, there were a number of firsts with her campaign.

The obvious one, the 25-year-old became the inaugural Australian gold medallist on UK soil, sending the Australian contingent in the crowd into frenzy and reducing some to tears of jubilation.

The Goulburn native is also the first Australian to win the women’s singles at the Commonwealth Games, as well as the first player in history to take home the singles and pairs gold at the same event, male or female thanks to her second gold medal with Kristina Krstic in the pairs.

That final itself will go down as one of the all time greats, with Ryan’s final bowl arguably now the most monumental in Australian bowls history.

For Krstic, she becomes the first female Commonwealth Games gold medallist from Western Australia, overcoming a barrage of travel restrictions over the past two years and becoming a state hero.

She joins Herbert Sharp as the state’s only Games conquerors.

Switching tact to Aaron Wilson and his men’s singles triumph made him the first player since David Bryant in 1978 to defend the men’s singles crown at the Games, the pair stand alone as the only ever to achieve the feat.

The man affectionately known as Disco joined Bryant as the only player to ever win multiple men’s singles gold medals, and with the 2026 event staged in Bendigo, his town of birth, a third might not be out of the question.

Ryan and Wilson have joined Carla KrizanicRebecca Van Asch and Natasha Van Eldik with the most gold medals at the Commonwealth Games by Australian bowlers, all of which have two.

In terms of medals, Barrie Lester claimed a fourth career medal with a silver in the men’s triples to equal Karen Murphy and Nathan Rice with the most ever medals won by Australian bowlers at the Games.

In the para women’s pairs, Cheryl Lindfield and Serena Bonnell became the nation’s first ever non-visually impaired female para medallists, both on debut at the multi-sport competition.

Joining Ryan, Krstic, Lindfield and Bonnell in receiving medallions in their first Commonwealth Games were Carl HealeyBen TwistDamien Delgado and Chris Flavel.

It has been a magnificent week for the sport, country and team, Birmingham 2022 is now firmly cemented in Australian bowls folklore.