Seven Commonwealth Games debutants were among the 17 bowlers named in the Australian Bowls Team for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association at the City of Melbourne Bowls Club today (25/3).
Selectors have chosen five men and five women in the open able-bodied category, while another five members have been selected to represent the para-sport team - including two vision impaired bowlers, accompanied by their directors, and three bowlers with a disability– four of who are debuting at the Games and will compete for the first time for medals contributing to the overall medal tally.
Announcing the appointment of the 17 bowlers and five team officials to the 2014 Australian Commonwealth Games Team, ACGA CEO Perry Crosswhite said, “We are pleased with the very high standard of the bowlers selected – with 10 medals available to be won we have every expectation that our bowlers will make a strong contribution to the overall Team success.”
The able-bodied team includes five members of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games line-up, two representatives who are back in the fold after competing at Melbourne in 2006 and three who are making their Commonwealth Games debuts.
In the women’s team, Queensland’s Lynsey Clarke has been selected to compete at her third consecutive Commonwealth Games, where she will endeavour to emulate her gold medal success of 2006, and is joined by Delhi Commonwealth Games singles bronze medallist Kelsey Cottrell (NSW) and Natasha Scott (NSW), who in 2010 became the youngest bowler to represent Australia at a Commonwealth Games.
Current triple world champion Karen Murphy (NSW), who clinched a gold medal in the pairs in 2006 in addition to silver medals in 1998 in the fours and 2002 in the singles, has been selected for her fourth Games appearance alongside 23-year-old Victorian debutant Carla Odgers.
In the men’s, Aron Sherriff (NSW) has secured a coveted place in the team for his second selection at the sport’s premier competition, as has former world number two Brett Wilkie (QLD), who skipped the triples to silver at Delhi in 2010.
Queensland’s Nathan Rice, who won Commonwealth Games bronze in the pairs in 2006, continues his spectacular return from an international hiatus after missing selection from the sport’s two premier competitions in recent years, the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2012 World Championships.
Joining Sherriff, Wilkie and Rice in the men’s contingent are two Games debutants entrusted with the nation’s hopes of success, including 35 year-old Matthew Flapper, who also hails from Victoria, and 37 year-old South Australian world champion Wayne Ruediger.
Testament to the generational change of bowls over recent years, the average age of the women’s side is just 27, while the men’s side averages 34 years of age.
In the para-sport team, two vision impaired bowlers, and their directors, and three bowlers with a disability have been selected to compete for two gold medals at the Games.
2013 International Blind Bowls Association Championships B3 singles gold medallist Tony Scott and director Peter Scott from Victoria, and Joy Forster, dual IBBA B2 women’s singles gold winner, in 2009 and 2012, and her director Bruce Jones, from Queensland, have secured the vision impaired mixed pairs positions for their first Commonwealth Games.
Bowlers with a disability selected to compete for the other para-sport gold medal include 2002 Commonwealth Games Elite Athletes with a Disability bronze medallist James Reynolds from NSW, 2013 Lawn Bowls Multi-Disability National Championships singles gold medallist Tony Bonnell from Queensland, and National Bowlers with a Physical Disability silver medallist Tim Slater from Victoria.
Head Coach Steve Glasson said the bowlers would look to build on the nation’s performance in Delhi and aimed to replicate the success of their 2012 World Championships campaign, where it won five gold and two silver medals out of a possible eight - the nation’s greatest ever performance.
“Australia have had a successful 18 months or so in international competition but we are under no illusion that the Games competition will be intense and we need to be as prepared as we can,” Glasson said
“The team is unchanged from the one that defeated New Zealand at the recent Trans-Tasman test which is testament to the way the team performed at that event recently.”
“It has been a lengthy process to get to this stage through the trials and training camps and everyone should be commended on how they have prepared themselves to this point but the hard-work continues now as the Games approach in just a matter of months.
Bowls is a core sport of the Commonwealth Games, having been included in the sporting programme since the inaugural Games in 1930, with the exception of 1966 in Kingston, Jamaica.
Australia’s lawn bowlers have won nine gold, 18 silver and seven bronze medals since 1930, with women not playing until 1982.
The 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games bowls event will be held over nine of the eleven days of competition, from July 24 to August 1.
Australian Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls Women’s team
Lynsey Clarke (30, Club Helensvale, QLD)
Kelsey Cottrell (23, St Johns Park Bowling Club, NSW)
Karen Murphy (39, Cabramatta Bowling Club, NSW)
*Carla Odgers (23, Lalor Bowling Club, VIC)
Natasha Scott (23, Raymond Terrace Bowling Club, NSW)
Australian Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls Men’s Team
*Matthew Flapper (35, Ocean Grove Bowling Club, VIC)
Nathan Rice, (34, Club Helensvale, QLD)
*Wayne Ruediger (37, Grange Bowling Club, SA)
Aron Sherriff (28, Ettalong Memorial Bowling Club, NSW)
Brett Wilkie (39, Club Helensvale, QLD)
Australian Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls Para-Sport Team
Vision Impaired Mixed Pairs:
*Joy Forster (64, Chermside Bowls Club, QLD - Director Bruce Jones)
*Tony Scott (54, Racecourse Bowls Club, VIC - Director Peter Scott)
Bowlers With A Disability Triples:
*Anthony Bonnell (46, Club Pine Rivers, QLD)
James Reynolds (33, Tathra Beach Bowling Club, NSW)
*Tim Slater (22, Victoria Bowling Club, VIC)
*denotes Commonwealth Games debutant
Section Manager – Peter Brown
National Coach – Steve Glasson
Assistant Coach – Robert Dobbins
Para-sport Coach – Gary Willis
Team Manager – Faye Luke