A CRACK field of fifty-two players from twenty-six countries will compete for honours at next month’s World Cup indoor singles championship in Australia.

Commencing on 14 March for eight days, the World Cup features twenty-eight men and twenty-four women in action on the indoor stadium carpet at the Warilla Bowls & Recreation Club.

Defending champion and four-times winner Jeremy Henry, who doubles as bowls co-ordinator at the host club, will again be the man to beat; as will Norfolk Island’s effervescent Carmen Anderson, who added last year’s women’s title to the world outdoor singles championship she won in England 21 years ago.

However, it should be remembered that all contestants are international representatives and no-one can be discounted, so big Jeremy and the diminutive Carmen, will have to overcome some highly rated opposition in their quest for further World Cup success.

Fresh from his gold medal at the world championships last December New Zealand’s Ali Forsyth will launch a serious challenge in the men’s event, as will Scotland’s Ronnie Duncan in his first trip downunder. America’s Scott Roberts won bronze last time around and will be in contention, as will Pierre Breitenbach from South Africa, classy Malaysian Mohammed Soufli Rusli and the surprising Sunil Bahadur from India, who never fails to unseat a top fancy or two at international events.

The women’s competition promises to be one of the most compelling World Cups ever, with most of the game’s top ladies heading to Warilla. Leading the charge to upset Carmen Anderson’s title defence will be world number one Jo Edwards from New Zealand, a past winner on four occasions.

But two World Cup debutantes will also attract much attention. Scotland’s Lesley Doig is one of the sport’s absolute best indoor exponents; while Australia’s Natasha Scott, who many pundits rate up in the top echelon, wouldn’t surprise anyone if she emerged with the World Cup in hand, considering her stellar year in 2016.

Other top fancies will include South Africa’s delightful Colleen Piketh, Nor Hashimah Ismail from Malaysia and bubbly 21-year-old Canadian Pricilla Westlake who was a bronze medallist last time around.

Field for this year’s World Cup indoor singles championship at Warilla Bowls & Recreation Club is as follows:

Men: Ozkan Akar (Turkey), Sunil Bahadur (India), Hirendra Bhartu (Canada), Pierre Breitenbach (South Africa), Chris Dagpin (Philippines), Ross Davis (Jersey), Ronnie Duncan (Scotland), Ken Emura (Japan), Ali Forsyth (New Zealand), John Gaborutwe (Botswana), Curtis Hanley (Australia), Selwyn Hare (Israel), Jeremy Henry (Australia), Su Hong Lam (Macao), Phil Jones (Norfolk Island), Vevai Kalimu (Papua New Guinea), Munesh Kumar (Fiji), Stanley Lai (Hong Kong), Matt Le Ber (Guernsey), Mark McGreal (Isle of Man), Cabous Olivier (Namibia), Shaun Parnis (Malta), Frans Roberts (Netherlands), Scott Roberts (USA), Tom Rogers (Spain), Mohammed Soufli Rusli (Malaysia), Tengah Tajuddin (Brunei), Melvin Tan (Singapore).

Women: Carmen Anderson OAM (Norfolk Island), Merle Apter (Israel), Loa Babona (Papua New Guinea), Lucy Beere (Guernsey), Carol Broomfield (Spain), Lovely Choubey (India), Obakeng Gaborutwe (Botswana), Lesley Doig (Scotland), Ronalyn Greenlees (Philippines), Jo Edwards MNZM (New Zealand), Nor Hashimah Ismail (Malaysia), Stephanie Hili (Malta), Petal Jones (Norfolk Island), Queenie Lai (Hong Kong), Colleen Piketh (South Africa), Radhika Prasad (Fiji), Hajah Salleh (Brunei), Margi Rambo (USA), Masako Satoh (Japan), Natasha Scott (Australia), Hilda Tam (Macao), Mee Kim Tham (Singapore), Pricilla Westlake (Canada), Corrie Windle-Braam (Netherlands).

Photo: Last year’s winners Carmen Anderson and Jeremy Henry return to the Warilla indoor stadium next month to defend their titles.