TWO international representatives will join bowls immortality in Australia over the next seven days when the sport crowns this year’s men’s and women’s world singles champions.
A stellar field of forty-five contenders hailing from twenty-eight countries will strive for the ultimate honour at historic Adelaide Bowling Club in the South Australian capital at the 17th World Singles Champion of Champions.
Commencing on October 28 for seven days of competition, the event features twenty-five men and twenty women in action on the pristine Adelaide greens.
Qualifying rounds will be conducted continuously over the first five days, with semi finals on Saturday 2 November, followed by the men’s and women’s world finals on Sunday 3 November.
This annual championship, first conducted in Australia at Moama in 2003, offers the ultimate ‘rags to riches’ fairytale story – fact is, any club singles winner, anywhere in the world, can progress through at regional, state and national level to win a shot at a world title – a place in this competition is won out on the green without the necessity to curry favour with national selectors.
This year’s field will no doubt comprise several players who fall under the ‘previously unheralded’ category, while it also carries a spate of the sport’s heavy hitters. Welsh star Laura Daniels, who won this title in 2017, having won the world pairs title in New Zealand the previous year, is also a former world indoor singles titleholder.
Likewise, England’s vivacious Sophie Tolchard is a former Commonwealth Games pairs gold medallist following her nation’s women’s triples triumph at the 2014 Glasgow Games.
The sections for this year’s championships are: Men: Section 1: Earl Luk (CAN), Louis Ridout (ENG), Tony Cheung (HKC), Zoltan Pavelka (HUN), Clive McGreal (IOM), Ahmad Zikry Sazeli (MAS), Cabous Olivier (NAM), Frank De Vries (NED), Taylor Horn (NZL), Avala Savaiinaea (SAM), Mark O’Hagan (SCO), Ian Kenyon (ESP). Men: Section 2: Lee Schraner (AUS), Regent Reid (BOT), Rajnesh Prasad (FIJ), Todd Priaulx (GUE), Stephen Coleman (IRE), Boaz Marcus (ISR), Hirokazi Mori (JPN), Haydn Evans (NFI), Kwok Fai Law (SIN), Wayne Rittmuller (RSA), Ozkan Akar (TUR), Charlie Herbert (USA), Kevin James (WAL).
Women: Section 1: Kylie Whitehead (AUS), Boikhutso Mooketsi (BOT), Shirley Fitzpatrick-Wong (CAN), Sophie Tolchard (ENG), Helen Cheung (HKC), Janice Pilling (IOM), Diana Viljoen (NAM), Shae Wilson (NFI), Tammy Tham (SIN), Bonnita Van Heerden (ZIM). Women: Section 2: Cristina Konig (ARG), Keiko Kurohara (JPN), Nur Fidrah Nor (MAS), Debbie White (NZL), Sonia Bruce (PHI), Laura Welsh (SCO), Esmé Kruger (RSA), Mary Dyer (ESP), Sandy Wall (USA), Laura Daniels (WAL).
Men: 2003 Douw Calitz (Namibia), 2004 Ali Forsyth (New Zealand), 2005 Mark Walton (England), 2006 Darren Burnett (Scotland), 2007 Tony Grantham (New Zealand), 2008 Leif Selby (Australia), 2009 Brett Wilkie (Australia), 2010 Aron Sherriff (Australia), 2011 Thomas Greechan (Jersey), 2012 Hizlee Rais (Malaysia), 2013 Tom Bishop (England), 2014 Iain McLean (Scotland), 2015 Neil Mulholland (Ireland), 2016 Scott Thulborn (Australia), 2017 Aaron Teys (Australia), 2018 Shannon McIlroy (New Zealand).
Women: 2003 Liz James (Swaziland), 2004 Margaret Johnston (Ireland), 2005 Nor Iryani Azmi (Malaysia), 2006 Julie Saunders (England), 2007 Alison Merrien (Guernsey), 2008 Kathy Pearce (Wales), 2009 Kelsey Cottrell (Australia), 2010 Jan Khan (New Zealand), 2011 Jo Edwards (New Zealand), 2012 Sandra Keith (New Zealand), 2013 Karen Murphy (Australia), 2014 Lorna Smith (Scotland), 2015 Emma Firyana Saroji (Malaysia), 2016 Natasha Scott (Australia), 2017 Laura Daniels (Wales), 2018 Jo Edwards (New Zealand).
Photo: Welsh superstar Laura Daniels on route to victory in the 2017 championships at Sydney’s St Johns Park club.