Mark Casey reflects on contrasting Commonwealth Games experiences

by Bowls Australia

From the triumph of a gold medal in a debut Commonwealth Games in front of a raucous home crowd in Melbourne, to four years later in Delhi, and a weight of expectation but faced with the most foreign conditions imaginable to an Australian bowler.

To come away from two Commonwealth Games, in 2006 and 2010, with a gold and silver medal respectively, is no underperformance by any means.

Although, when Mark Casey OAM speaks to his contrasting Games experiences, there is some hint of what could have been, particularly when it came to capitalising on the freight train of momentum that was Melbourne in 2006.

“The whole thing about Melbourne was just incredible,” Casey said.

“The village, the players, we could go out… We were lucky enough to have the triples in the first four days, so we had the next two weeks to embrace the whole city.

“It was just an incredible feeling; I had my family and friends there, being a Melbourne boy.

“That final against Ireland… Jeremy Henry, our great mate, was involved in that. It was just a brilliant game. Billy (Cornehls) and Wayne (Turley) really turned it on; I really didn’t have to do too much, to be honest.

“You could call it the perfect game; all three of us did our jobs.”

Watch Mark Casey’s full interview below, as part of our ‘Legends Under Lights’ series, proudly presented by Legacy Sport Lighting.

Fast-forward to Delhi in 2010, a Games dogged by construction delays and concerns over health and safety, the experience was entirely different for Casey and the Australian team.

On the back of what was (at the time) the nation’s most successful Games in Melbourne, the team suddenly had to navigate the challenges of India with a new sense of expectation.

The Australians certainly didn’t disgrace themselves in Delhi but came away from the Games without a gold medal, but rather three silver and a bronze.

Casey, with Brett Wilkie and Wayne Turley, secured one of those silver medals and as he reflects on that “different” Games experience, pointed to motivation as a factor in the team’s performance.

“We were on an 11 second, dodgy carpet green. We had probably 10 supporters in the crowd… It was just a different atmosphere,” Casey said.

“I think back to that time between the semi-final and final; if we had our time again, we definitely would have tried to pump ourselves up to go to that next step.

“I guess we were just thrilled to get into the final and yeah, we probably didn’t play at our best and South Africa were outstanding.”