World Championships – A reflection on the week that’s been and the week to come
There have been many article written on the performances of the Jackaroos over the last week. If you missed any of the news, try the following sources;
The Examiner on Rebecca Van Asch’s win Click Here
NZ Online site ‘Stuff’ on Karen Murphy’s win Click Here
And again looking at Australia’s week one dominance Click Here
Or Bowls Australia’s continual coverage Click here
But with today being a rest day, I thought it was best to speak to the players themselves and see how they felt things have gone so far. I asked them 3 questions each.
Rebecca Van Asch – Women’s Fours & Triples
How does it feel to have played so well in the final?
We are over the moon with our performance. We had been playing so well through the finals we were really determined to carry that form into the gold medal match. It’s all about doing it when it counts and we all performed well.
How does the feeling differ from the Adelaide win to the Christchurch victory?
There is no greater feeling than winning a World Title. It is a little different than Adelaide though. Not better or worse, just different. Finals for all disciplines were held until the end of the championships there so when Kelsey & I won the pairs that was it for us so we were able to really enjoy the moment and celebrate. This time it is really in our minds that we still have 50% of the job to complete we are far from done. Of course it was different with a home crowd as well, but we do have a greater supporter base over her which has been fantastic. I think I’ve been a lot more emotional this time around though. It’s been a long couple of years for me on the border so I am really appreciating this. Watching the next 3 finals after us this time has been so damn nerve racking. I’m very thankful for sunglasses hiding my eyes at presentation times!
After the first four games (and before the change) did you always have the confidence that this team could turn it around?
After day 1 we had 2 losses but yes I was still confident. I knew we were good enough and I certainly believed in our ability, we just had to put it together. I must admit my heart sunk after we lost our 3rd game the second morning. We were all square and dropped 1 on the last end and we were pretty shattered. We got another 2 wins though and were really pumped up for the final day of the pool rounds. We just focussed on winning our games and then we would see what the wash-up was. We had a hard section and that often means that teams are going to lose games along the way.
We’ll wait another week before we really enjoy and appreciate our achievements and hopefully we have some more success to celebrate.
Carla Krizanic – Women’s Fours and Triples
What was the feeling like once you knew you had secured your first World Championship?
I had so many feelings all at the same time. Of course I was ecstatic and so damn excited but I also felt extremely humbled and privileged to have had that opportunity to win a world title for my country and beside those girls. Such an unbelievable feeling and I’m still buzzing like mad days later.
Does winning gold in the first week take the pressure off in the second, or does it make you want that same feeling again?
There’s always pressure when you put the green and gold on because you always want to do your nation proud. But it’s healthy pressure and now that I have had a taste of a world title I can assure you I want more.
The team spirit seems to be really high in the Jackaroos, even before the 4 medals, it must be nice to play in such a supportive atmosphere?
This is the best team in the world to be a part of and the environment definitely brings the best out of everyone, the amount of support we have from each other has really been the key to our success so far.
Aron Sherriff – Men’s Triples and Singles
So close in the final of the Triples, you must have been pleased with the efforts of Barrie & Mark over the four days?
It was tough to lose in a tight match like that but seeing the efforts of our whole team and making four finals for 3 gold is an amazing achievement for Australia!
As a skip, how does the re-spot rule change the way you play the game?
The re-spot definitely changes the way you approach a head sometimes. If you haven’t got the spot covered sometimes it forces you to play a different shot!
Moving into singles, do you approach the game differently to triples?
Playing singles is a lot different to team games. Obviously you’re out there on your own and it can get lonely. It’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to and hopefully I can repeat what Karen did yesterday and also defend Leif’s title!
Barrie Lester – Men’s Triples & Fours
Are you able to enjoy winning a silver medal or does the pain of being so close to gold make it difficult to celebrate an excellent achievement?
To be a silver medallist at the highest level is pleasing and rewarding. I have had a couple of days to enjoy a great week for everyone.
How do you feel you have played over the first week of the event?
I’m happy with the way I have played and looking forward to the 4’s starting tomorrow. I would have liked to draw the winner on the extra end but it wasn’t to be.
The team seems to really get behind each other, you must be looking forward to playing fours next week?
The team culture and chemistry is amazing, the coaching staff and high performance staff work wonders. We all believe in one another and push each other to be the best.
Natasha Scott – Women’s Fours & Triples
What was your initial reaction when you were told that you were being moved to the skips position?
I didn’t really have much time to comprehend any other thought than right we have 5 more games that we must win so let’s do this….
The first end of the final and you’re 4 down with one bowl to come? Explain what you were thinking before you played a bowl that could be considered the most important bowl of the final.
Yes, this end was either going to make or break us. Thank goodness it set the tone for the game. I was grateful that Ellen moved the bowl on to the line with her last bowl as it than gave me a bit of a target. I knew in my mind I could hit it but to actually do it was another story. When I let the bowl go I knew I was close.
Are you able to compare your Adelaide and Christchurch successes? Being away from Australia, did you still feel supported from across the ditch?
Yes, we have many supporters over here from Australia. We don’t have the home crowd advantage but the few spectators we do have certainly make up for it. To be a part of this 4s team is certainly a story in its self and to come away with a gold medal after the start we had. Wowee!
Kelsey Cottrell – Women’s Fours & Pairs
How does it feel to be a two time World Champion?
It feels fantastic to be a two-time World Champion! To win the event after the adversity we faced in the opening 4 matches is a credit to the team and to the staff who made the decision to change things up.
The rink shake up can’t have been easy, being moved from skip to lead, but you’re lead bowling for the rest of the tournament was excellent, how did you handle that process so well?
I knew a change was coming, I would have been very surprised if I was still skipping after we dropped our third match. I’m leading in the pairs for Karen Murphy so that position is not new to me and my drawing game was not what was letting me down in the early stages of the event. I had an important job to do for Australia and thinking negatively about the change would not have helped our situation. I thrived at lead and think I made a great contribution to our success in the next 8 straight victories.
2 titles to share with our Rebecca Van Asch, are you going to be trying to play in everything with her from now on?
Bec is one of my best mates, so it was fitting to win another World Title next to such an amazing player and person. Bec brings so much to our team and together we have always combined well and got the best out of each other. We will absolutely join forces again some time down the track, fingers crossed for the both of us, we will be wearing the green and gold when we do!
Brett Wilkie – Men’s Pairs & Fours
How does it feel to be the first Australian male to be a two time Lawn Bowls World Champion?
I didn’t realise I am the first but I am honoured. I am looking forward to taking to the green with the fours boys now this week.
You and Aaron have different personalities on the green, but the partnership seemed to work so well, why do you think that is?
We both get along very well and I believe we complement each other on the green. We combined very well as a team throughout the event. The Moama Pairs recently was a great lead up event for us.
Does this now give you an extra confidence boost heading into Week 2 of the championships?
I thoroughly enjoyed the first week and now we have to reset and start fresh again.
Aaron Wilson – Men’s Pairs & Fours
It must be a great feeling to be on debut for Australia and win a World title at your first go!
To represent Australia really is the dream and to get a gold medal with good mate Brett. It’s unbelievable
You and Brett are both quality players no doubt, but have you been surprised by how well you have both gelled on the green?
After plenty of hard work and training we took each game as it comes – guess for us both we just enjoyed and gave it 1000 percent.
How has it felt having your family there to share in your success?
Having the family there was an amazing feeling – Mum Dad and my sister. It was very emotional, especially with dad crying after the game. Words really can’t describe it’s just the best feeling!
Mark Casey – Men’s Triples & Fours
Winning a silver medal and being so close to gold, does it leave any doors open for remaining in the Australian side after the Worlds are completed?
This will definitely be my final time of representing Australia. I have been extremely fortunate to have represented Australia over the past 14 years, it’s been a massive honour and something that I will look back on and been very proud of, however after these World Championships I will be focusing on my career, managing the BA events as well as the 2018 Commonwealth Games. I’m also really looking forward to being able to spend more time at home with my young family.
With the strong depth of the Australian team, does that give us an advantage heading into the fours next week, the fact all four players are playing so well at this stage?
Absolutely, we are going into week 2 of the World Championships full of confidence having already won 3 gold and 1 silver. In saying that though, we won’t be taking any game for granted. We need to work hard and make sure we finish on a high.
Moving from Triples to Fours seems like an easy transition but is there anything you need to do differently in this format?
Not really, we all combine so well together, we know each other’s game. I’m very excited about our chances, I would love to go out a World Champion with these boys!
Karen Murphy was busy all day to day with a World Bowls Council meeting. Hopefully she got some rest in and is ready for the upcoming week in the Pairs.
By David Genford