2019 Australian Championships: Preview
Club Sapphire, Merimbula is poised to host the best edition of the Australian Championships yet, when play commences for a third consecutive year from Monday, December 2 to Friday, December 6.
Club Sapphire’s Bowls Development Officer, Michael Wilks, told the Bega District News he was expecting quality competition when play gets underway with Triples action on Monday.
“The qualifying list reads like a proverbial who’s who of the sport’s elite with no less than 20 current and former Australian reps,” Wilks said.
A former Australian Jackaroo himself, Wilks said it will be sensational to welcome visitors from across the globe to the region, particularly New Zealand, Scotland and South Africa.
The Triples discipline will open the event, followed by four full days of competition, culminating in the newly-introduced mixed pairs discipline on Friday.
With Men’s and Women’s teams involved in the competition, there are strong fields across all disciplines vying for the crown.
In the Men’s Triples event, the Victorian qualifiers will be led by World Championships gold medallist and current New Zealand representative Ali Forsyth, NSW is also strongly represented with current Australian squad member Ben Twist, while South African star Eric Johannes headlines the Queensland team.
The women also boast some of the best, with BCiB Australian Jackaroos spearhead Chloe Stewart teaming up with Claire Turley and Kira Bourke for Queensland, while NSW will provide stiff opposition through 2017 Triples champions Natasha Scott, Genevieve Delves and Kate Matthews.
Tuesday sees the Pairs competition in play with defending champions Sean Baker and Jade Groenewege returning in the hope they can become the first back-to-back champions in the Men’s field.
New Zealand Blackjack international Katelyn Inch and former Australian Jackaroo Julie Keegan look to be the ones to beat in the Women’s Pairs, but they’ll have to overcome strong suiters Delves and Matthews, with the former adding Singles and Pairs qualification to her busy week. Meanwhile, former Australian Champion of Champion winner Colleen Orr will give the Northern Territory a great shot at its first gold in the event..
Wednesday will see the coveted Fours crown contested, with Wilks of the opinion that the field is the strongest it has been in the three years the competition has been staged. Last year’s winners from Western Australia also return in the Women’s field and will be an early favourite.
Queensland-based Merimbula pennant-import Kevin Anderson will compete in the blue-ribbon singles on Thursday, while Friday is the Mixed Pairs contest.
Entry to each day is free of charge, with sectional play commencing at 8:45am daily and finals sessions commencing from 6pm each night.
2019 Australian Championships
(Monday – Triples, Tuesday – Pairs, Wednesday – Fours, Thursday – Singles, Friday – Mixed Pairs)
Club Sapphire, Merimbula
Bowls Australia (BA) will be live-streaming the Singles & Mixed Pairs action from December 5-6.