Long to Challenge Nations Best

by admin on October 3, 2016

Starting this Wednesday at the Keilor Bowls Club in
Victoria, Jarrod Long (Kingborough) will be taking on other state
representatives at the Australian Champion of Champions. All 8 competitors have
won their club singles, then the regional or zone playoffs and finally their
state playoffs. After 7 round robin games, one player will be crowned the
Australian Champion and will go on to represent Australia in the World Champion
of Champions. There will also be a Women’s event held at the same time with six
players taking part with both the Tasmanian & ACT winner unable to play (no
replacements are allowed at any stage of this event). Unfortunately for Rae
Simpson (Trevallyn) an injury has prevented her from taking part.
The favourite for the Men’s event would have to be Canadian
international Ryan Bester, who is representing Qld and the Broadbeach bowls
club. Bester has been crowned the number one ranked player in Australia over
the last two years and will be keen to add another notch to his belt. “I rank
this event highly as every bowler in Australia can contest it”, said Bester who
was recently in Tasmania for the Mad Dog Singles, finishing third. “If you just
look at the previous winners, Holt, Fisher & Thulborn, it would be a great
feeling to add my name to that list.” Bester was coy on who the main dangers
would be, “Everyone in the field has done well just to make it this far but if
I had to name someone, Aaron Teys (NSW) is an obvious threat but I would also
say Pieter Harris (WA) as he showed some great form in the Helensvale 5 a
side.” The greens may prove to be the biggest challenge to Bester with the
Melbourne weather providing a slower green then he is used to on the Gold
Coast, but being the true professional, this doesn’t faze Bester; “The slower
greens don’t bother me, I just have to throw it harder!”
Apart from Long, Bester, Teys & Harris, the other
players taking part are Ashley Halls (SA), Brett Irvone (NT), Long’s first
opponent (9am) Mark Dulihanty (ACT) & Paul Twyerould (VIC).
The female draw looks to be a battle between Carla Krizanic
from Victoria & Val Smith from NSW. Their round 2 match on Thursday morning
should see some quality bowls played. Ester Regan (Qld), Lisa Featherby (WA),
Brownyn Chandler (NT) & Renata Callisto (SA) will all be keen to prove the
pundits wrong and etch their name on the trophy.
If Val Smith and or Ryan Bester do take out the event, Bowls
Australia will be put in a very awkward position. Smith (NZ) & Bester
(Canada) are not eligible to play for Australia in the World Champion of
Champions as they still represent their original country. Bowls Australia have
been very strict not allowing replacement players to take the field when the
winner is not available. Could it be possible that Australia doesn’t have a
representative at a world event? Only time will tell but I suspect there will
be a few in the BA hierarchy cheering for this scenario not to eventuate!
By David Genford