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Pearse and Atkinson’s slice of history in Guernsey

by Val Febbo on May 2, 2024

With their maiden world titles in Guernsey coming over the weekend, Ray Pearse and Samantha Atkinson have etched their names into international bowls history for a variety of reasons.

In conquering England’s Rebecca McMillan and Harry Goodwin in a pulsating mixed pairs final, the duo ensured that Australia would become the first nation to successfully defend the title in the discipline.

It is the third year that the format has made an appearance since the former World Cup Singles competition underwent a change to the World Bowls Indoor Championships.

The first event was won by the Scotland/Guernsey pairing of Stewart Anderson and Alison Merrien MBE before Aron Sherriff and Kelsey Cottrell saluted in Warilla last year.

Pearse and Atkinson would keep the run going for Australia, emerging from second place in their section before overrunning the 2022 singles champion Miachael Stepney and two-time defending singles conqueror Julie Forrest in the quarterfinals to make a statement to the rest of the field.

The Australians would then take down Malaysia and England on their ascent to the summit of the podium, ensuring they would leave the English Channel island with a pristine medal in their luggage.

Over the course of the tournament’s various formats, Australia had boasted seven champions on previous occasions, with Jeremy Henry winning the former World Cup Singles on an astonishing six occasions.

Atkinson and Pearse joined that small group to make it nine champions for the country, combining with Henry, Sherriff, Cottrell, Leif Selby, Mark Casey, Kelvin Kerkow and Judy Nardella on an illustrious list.

In claiming the title, Victoria’s Atkinson became just the third female from the country to win the event to go with Nardella and one of the greatest Right at Home Jackaroos in Cottrell.

Furthermore, Atkinson became the first Australian female to win the event on foreign soil, with her two compatriots achieving the feat in New South Wales.

The Richmond Union product and her counterpart in Pearse joined Casey as the only three players from the country to have won the event on international shores, with the latter earning his gold in Hong Kong at the inaugural event in 2005.

It was far from just a medal for Pearse and Atkinson as Advance Australia Fair serenaded the Guernsey Indoor Bowls Centre, it was history, and a week that the bowling community in this country is extremely proud of.