BCiB Australian Jackaroos to return to the UK

by Domenic Favata

The BCiB Australian Jackaroos will leave nothing to chance when it comes to defending their Commonwealth Games golden haul, with 15 players’ boarding passes stamped for a return visit to the United Kingdom (UK) in July.

For the second consecutive year, the Jackaroos will undertake a tour of the UK as preparations continue towards the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

This year, joining the able-bodied squad will also be a handful of the sport’s para-sport contingent, while a blend of youth and experience will underpin the touring squad set to journey to the Northern Hemisphere for approximately two weeks.

The squad will primarily base themselves in Birmingham and compete at Royal Leamington Spa, the official Birmingham 2022 bowls venue (pictured below), against England, Scotland and Ireland across a number of test series while venturing to Wales along the journey for an additional series.

Fresh off the back of their involvement in the 2019 Asia Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast, Kelsey Cottrell, Natasha Scott, Ray Pearse and Aaron Teys will lead the able-bodied squad, while experienced trio Karen Murphy, Aaron Wilson and Samantha Shannahan will bolster the team’s experience.

Rising stars Chloe Stewart (23), Corey Wedlock (22) and Benjamin Twist (28) will again form part of the touring party, having made the trip in 2018, in what was a highly successful tour for the Jackaroos.

2018 Commonwealth Games Vision-Impaired gold medallists Jake Fehlberg (Director – Grant Fehlberg) and Lynne Seymour (Director – Bob Seymour) headline the para-sport squad, with fellow gold medallist Tony Bonnell to lead the Athletes with a disability triples also comprising of Joshua Barry and Chris Flavel, with an additional bowler a possible inclusion following this month’s National Multi-Disability Bowls Championships.

This tour will also mark the first opportunity that iconic UK international Andy Thomson MBE will have to work with the squad, having joined the Bowls Australia (BA) High Performance program late in 2018 as a specialist tactical coach.

Commonwealth Games Australia’s (CGA) recent funding commitment to the sport’s High Performance program has significantly contributed to this tour proceeding, which will enhance the players’ exposure to the unique conditions faced in the UK in a bid that players will be able to draw on these experiences as they chase gold in 2022.

National Coach Steve Glasson was excited by the opportunity to return to the UK, this time with the para-sport squad, while thankful to CGA for their ongoing commitment to the sport and its athletes.

“Following a successful tour to the UK last year, there were many options available to the selection committee but the basis was to take a mix of established and development players with a vision to gaining exposure on UK outdoor greens well in advance of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games,” Glasson said.

“Our selections in all upcoming events will also have a vision for the future with Birmingham the primary objective.

“It is terrific that this time around, our para-sports players will be able to join us on the journey, allowing them to share in the experiences and learnings our Jackaroos received last year.

“We are very thankful to Commonwealth Games Australia for continuing to support our High Performance program on the journey towards Birmingham 2022.”

Squad

Women:

Kelsey Cottrell (28, St Johns Park, NSW)

Karen Murphy (44, Cabramatta, NSW)

Natasha Scott (28, Raymond Terrace, NSW)

Chloe Stewart (23, Tweed Heads, QLD)

Samantha Shannahan (30, Deer Park, VIC)

Men:

Ray Pearse (34, Cabramatta, NSW)

Aaron Teys (25, Warilla, NSW)

Aaron Wilson (27, Cabramatta, NSW)

Corey Wedlock (22, Warilla, NSW)

Benjamin Twist (28, St Johns Park, NSW)

 

Para-sport squad

Athletes with a disability triples:

Tony Bonnell (51, Broadbeach, QLD)

Joshua Barry (38, Deer Park, VIC)

Chris Flavel (35, Payneham, SA)

Vision-impaired pairs:

Jake Fehlberg (25, Burleigh Heads, QLD, Director – Grant Fehlberg)

Lynne Seymour (69, Thuringowa, QLD, Director – Robert Seymour)

 

Opponents/Events

Dates are tentative and TBC*

July 7/8 – Travel to Birmingham, England, UK

July 10/11 – Australia v Ireland (Leamington Spa)

July 12-14 – Australia v Scotland (Leamington Spa)

July 15 – Travel to Wales, UK

July 16/18 – Australia v Wales (Venue TBC)

July 19 – Travel back to Birmingham, England, UK

July 20/21 – Australia v England (Leamington Spa)

July 23 – Return to Australia

(Note: Given the significant commitments of the Jackaroos in June with the Australian Open and Asia Pacific Championships, this was a non-compulsory tour. Selectors picked those who made themselves available.)