Ray Pearse to replace Forsyth for eXtreme at BPL19

by Val Febbo on February 9, 2024

The Melbourne eXtreme lineup for the upcoming BPL19 in Moama will look a little different than expected with former MVP runner-up and reigning Australian Indoor Championships winner Ray Pearse to come in for an ill Ali Forsyth.

Pearse is no stranger to the BPL, having previously represented the Sydney Lions and Perth Suns, with his most recent event being at BPL14 in February 2022.

Overall, the New South Welshman has taken part in 75 matches at the tournament and guided Perth to its most recent finals appearance on the Murray at BPL12, where he would finish second to Scott Thulborn in the race for the MVP award.

Pearse is looking forward to heading back down to what he considers a venue that he thrives at in an event that he relishes.

“It’s been three years now since I was at Perth but I got the call from Matt Flapper and Mark Bullows yesterday to have another crack at the BPL,” he said.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing at the BPL with the best players in the world, especially having Alex Marshall back in the tournament.

“I can’t really tell what it is but every time I’ve played at Moama it’s been a happy hunting ground.

“It’s a kind pace on that carpet and it’s built for good bowls and I think it’s the environment, everyone is up and about and you have to be playing well in every game.”

Pearse will team up with his former Right at Home Jackaroos teammate in Flapper and BPL18 All Star team member in Kylie Whitehead under coach Kelvin Kerkow.

The 39-year-old is excited for the join the squad as the eXtreme look to break through for a maiden title after going down in agonising fashion to the Tweed Heads Ospreys in the final of the most recent edition of the tournament in November.

“No pressure,” Pearse quipped

“People say Kylie is an up and comer but she has been in good form for a very long time and I’m looking forward to teaming up with her.

“Matty has been a mentor for me since my name was first selected for the Jackaroos and I’m looking forward to having another game with him.

“He’s just got that presence about him and he always makes the people around him play better and enjoy the fight.”

Club Sunbury Bowls Director and the eXtreme’s Manager Bullows is thrilled that Pearse was available for the event, as well as wishing Forsyth a speedy recovery.

“We were very fortunate to get Ray and pick up a player of his quality, obviously after winning the Australian Indoors we know he’s very good on carpet,” he said.

“We look forward to having him on board and utilising his experience.

“Everyone at the eXtreme and Club Sunbury hopes that Ali makes a quick recovery and that he’ll be sitting at home and encouraging the team, I look forward to catching up with him soon.”

BPL19 runs from February 19-23, 2024, at the Moama Bowling Club with live streaming on Bowls Australia’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, as well as live broadcasts from Tuesday to Friday from 4pm until 10pm AEDT on Fox, Kayo and Sky Sports NZ.