Dozens of Kiwi bowlers are making their way across the Tasman Sea to chance their arm at the prestigious 2018 Australian Open, set to get underway this weekend on the Gold Coast.
Hosted by thirteen stunning venues, the Australian Open has fast become the world’s most lucrative bowls event, with players from all pockets of the globe making the trip to the sunny shores of Australia in a bid for the coveted silverware and unrivalled reputation that comes with it.
Following the success of hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Broadbeach Bowling Club will be looking to continue showcasing their expert hospitality and tournament governance as thousands of players descend on their greens in the coming week, with the eyes of the world fixed firmly on the action.
While Bowls New Zealand won’t have official playing representatives involved in this year’s showpiece, plenty of star power will be present in the form of rising talent Seamus Curtin, reigning World Singles champion Shannon McIlroy, recently retired Blackjack Paul Girdler, Kiwi international Blake Signal, former development representative Sarah Scott and Broadbeach based Katelyn Inch – among others.
Keen to be part of the action and measure up against some of the world stars, provincial representatives from throughout New Zealand in attendance are Bob McAuley, Dave Archer, Mike Carroll, Pat Houlahan, Alister Watson, Blackjack selector Peter Belliss and other aspiring hopefuls looking to cause an upset or two.
With a staggering total of more than $250,000 on the line, it is little wonder some of the superstars of the game have combined forces. Alex Marshall, Jeremy Henry, Commonwealth Games singles gold medalist Aaron Wilson and Broadbeach club coordinator Ryan Bester will all be out alongside Australian household names Aron Sherriff, Ben Twist, Aaron Teys. Former legends Leif Selby, Wayne Turley and Robert Parella, to name only a few, will join the fray.
Catering for all grades, the Bowls Australian Open will host singles, pairs, fours, under-18s, over 60s and disability disciplines, with more than 750 prize-money placings available across the field.
If by chance that action alone won’t be enough for bowls fans, Broadbeach have delivered two curtain raisers to behold with the Blue Opal Singles and the Blue Diamond 3-Bowl Pairs bringing together the finest talent worldwide to contest big pay days in the lead up to the main action on the Gold Coast.
In a mouthwatering prospect, both Bester and Wilson are set to pair up, with the two only playing the Commonwealth Games singles final just a couple of months ago. Other strong match-ups include Marshall and fellow Scot Ryan Burnett, Wayne Ruediger and Corey Wedlock, in addition to New Zealand links Belliss and Colin Lowery, Carroll and Brendan Egan, Roger and Bronwyn Stevens, Lou Newman and Sanjhe Prasad, Archer and McAuley and Blackjack Inch teaming up with former Jackaroo Julie Keegan.
More than 4,500 matches are played each year at the Open over two weeks. Stars will be born and reputations will be made. As the world’s biggest bowls festival draws nearer – let the action commence.
*The Australian Open commences on Saturday, June 9 and concludes on Friday, June
22. Broadbeach Bowls Club has been named as the event HQ.