World Cup set for a blockbuster beginning
Australia will launch an auspicious assault on next week’s World Cup, with three of the globe’s premier players donning the green and gold uniform in a bid to secure the prized silverware at Warilla.
An all-Australian men’s final is not out of the realm of possibility, with Hometown Warilla hero Jeremy Henry back to defend the coveted crown that he secured 12 months ago, while fellow former world number one Mark Casey looms as a genuine threat in the opposite half of the draw after securing passage to the event courtesy of his Australian Indoor Championships victory, giving Australia twice as many chances to clinch the honours.
For Henry, a former Northern Irish international, last year’s win marked a momentous occasion; his first international title for the nation he now calls home.
Casey too will be seeking repeated glory after topping the dais at the event back in 2005.
Henry will be pitted against Norfolk Island’s Ryan Dixon in his opening rubber encounter, while Casey will face Zimbabwe’s Roy Garden in his first match.
The nation’s remaining hope rests with world number two Karen Murphy in the women’s event, whose sterling last 12 months will hold her in good stead to pinch one of the few elusive trophies missing from her mantlepiece.
Murphy, who booked her position in the draw with her fifth Indoor title in seven years, will look to go two steps further than her performance last year, after bowing out to eventual winner Alison Merrien, from Guernsey, in the semi-final.
The Jackaroos vice-captain will be intent on becoming the nation’s seventh World Cup champion, behind only Judy Nardella in the women’s discipline, after twice taking home the silver medal.
Murphy will lock horns with Singapore’s Li Li Len in the opening round.
Staged from Tuesday, April 9 to Wednesday, April 17 at the Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club in NSW, the tournament features 25 of the world’s best bowls nations, with two-time women’s champion Merrien defending her women’s title, after denying New Zealand Black Jack Jo Edwards a fourth straight cup in the final.
The round-robin phase of the tournament starts Tuesday, with the sectional rounds continuing until Sunday April 14 and finals held on April 17.
Click here for full draws and results from the 2013 World Cup at Warillia.
Caption: Jeremy Henry will be gunning for his second World Cup crown after saluting last year.