ALL is in readiness for the start of this year’s World Singles Champion of Champions at Club Helensvale on Australia’s Gold Coast tomorrow, when no fewer than forty-five international representatives from 26 countries will compete at the award- winning Queensland venue, with the men’s and women’s champions being crowned next Sunday afternoon.
In effect this event unearths the sport’s best club bowler. It offers the ultimate ‘rags to riches’ fairytale whereby a previously unheralded bowler can win a world title, having successfully won through club, district, state and national play-offs. And, without the need to curry favour with national selectors.
Last year’s winners were experienced internationals Emma Firyana Saroji from Malaysia and Ireland’s Neil Mulholland.
However, the possibility of a fairytale finish truly exists, and while seasoned professionals Rudi Jacobs from South Africa, Spain’s Pete Bonsor, Jon Tomlinson from Wales and young Hong Kong whiz Ken Chan will demand attention, Australia’s Scotty Thulborn will start favourite. At last year’s championship the rangy South Australian was undefeated through the qualifying stanza, but lost to the eventual winner in a semi final. He will be fiercely determined to make amends this time around.
In the women’s competition it is another Aussie, Natasha Scott, who thrives on the swift-running Gold Coast greens, who will also start as raging hot favourite. A recent Australian Open and Golden Nugget singles winner in the vicinity, the 25-year-old Novocastrian is riding a rich vein of form.
Perhaps her biggest challenge will come from another 25-year-old, England’s Sophie Tolchard, who currently holds her country’s open and junior singles titles. A gold medallist at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, the delightful Devonian is no stranger to the big time and is surely one to watch.
But two of the more senior players in the women’s line-up will make these youngsters work for every shot. Reigning World Cup singles champion Carmen Anderson from Norfolk Island is always in contention when there is world gold to be plundered, while Saskia Schaft from the Netherlands was a silver medallist when she last competed, at Fendalton in Christchurch, two years ago.
But then again, is there a bolter in the field? Only time will tell…
Here they are:
The men’s field comprises Ozkan Akar (Turkey), John Bjornson (Canada), Pete Bonsor (Spain), Terry Bowes (Zimbabwe), Bill Brault (USA), Ken Chan (Hong Kong), Tee Chiak Chia (Singapore), Frank de Vries (Netherlands), Zvika Hadar (Israel), Des Hipa (Niue), Rudi Jacobs (South Africa), Phil Jones (Norfolk Island), Clive McGreal (Isle of Man), Uthen Ontong (Thailand), James Preston (Cyprus), Mohammad Soufi Rusli (Malaysia), Ben Sherwen (England), Scott Thulborn (Australia), Jonathan Tomlinson (Wales) and Omar Rahman (Brunei).
This year’s women’s entry list is Rahsan Akar (Turkey), Carmen Anderson (Norfolk Island), Foster Banda (Zambia), Rosie Brown (Ireland), Patsorn Bryant (Thailand), Goda (Japan), Teokotai Jim (Cook Islands), Ainie Knight (Philippines), Virginia Longfellow (Singapore), Amalia Matali (Brunei), Eileen McEwan (Scotland), Anne Nunes (USA), Catherine Papani (Niue), Mali Reuven (Israel), Diane Roberts (Cyprus), Debbie Robertson (Zimbabwe), Saskia Schaft (Netherlands), Natasha Scott (Australia), Sophie Tolchard (England), Harriette Pituley (Canada), Judith Wason (Wales) and Trish Young (South Africa).
Play is continuous every day from 9:00am, and best news of all, entry for spectators is free.
Photo: Last year’s winners Emma Firyana Saroji from Malaysia and Ireland’s Neil Mulholland.