With less than five weeks left on the clock, bowling communities throughout the globe are gearing up for the return of the eagerly anticipated 2023 World Bowls Championships.
Returning to the calendar some three years apart, (due to COVID-19 disruption and travel restrictions), more than 400 competitors from 44 countries are set to descend on the Gold Coast from 29 August – 10 September.
The event will showcase a staggering 1244 matches, with disciplines to include singles, pairs, triples, fours and para bowls – hosted by five spectacular clubs and coordinated by an army of volunteers and officials.
As the countdown continues, the New Zealand Blackjacks are busy finalising their preparations, before flying out to Australia in the coming weeks to start their campaign.
With a relatively new-look side and a promising showing at the Multi-Nations earlier this year, expectations are high and there is a calm confidence running through the camp. In the women’s line-up, the star duo of Katelyn Inch and Selina Goddard will compete in the women’s pairs, hoping to capture the gold in an event they have both excelled at in their last two international campaigns. Inch will also skip the women’s fours, with experienced stalwart Val Smith, Goddard and Leeane Poulson, while Smith will take charge in the triples, joined by Tayla Bruce and Poulson.
Following on from her success in the World Champion of Champion Singles in November 2022, Bruce will contest the singles berth and has shown in previous seasons, her domestic dominance for the four-bowl discipline.
Meanwhile, the men’s side will see the in-form Sheldon Bagrie-Howley skip the men’s triples and fours, ably supported by Lance Pascoe, Chris Le Lievre and Tony Grantham (fours). Wellington intercentre representative Andrew Kelly has been given the nod in the men’s singles and will skip the ever-consistent Grantham in a strong pairing, with Grantham recently taking out the National Champion of Champions Singles and showing solid form throughout.
The Para bowls combinations will see Mark Noble and Darron Wolland contest the men’s title, while Teri Blackbourn and Julie O’Connell will once again join forces and hope to emulate their Multi-Nations form on the big stage. The Vision Impaired mixed pairs comprise Kerrin Wheeler (and his father Colin as Director) teaming up with Jayne Parsons (and her husband Brent) to form a formidable duo in this discipline.
The 12-day competition will commence with seven…