In a little over two months, nations from all around the world will descend on the Broadbeach Bowls Club to contest the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Heading into the Games as hosts, much will be expected of our Jackaroos but there are several other extremely talented nations in their own right who will look to threaten the Aussies’ hopes of a gold rush this April.
Helping you get familiarised with some of these nations that are set to grace Australian shores will be our ‘Opposition Analysis’ series of articles.
First cab off the rank, England.
Having fared well in Glasgow 2014 with a total of six medals including one gold, the 17 player squad selected for Gold Coast has been earmarked as one of England’s deepest in recent memory and will be spearheaded by three-time Games gold medalist Ellen Falkner.
Here is a breakdown of their squad:
The Star – Robert Paxton
Despite Paxton yet to make his Games debut, the 39-year-old is no stranger to the big stage having skipped England to the gold medal in the 2016 World Bowls Championships men’s triples disciploine in New Zealand, while also recently collecting silver in the World Indoor Bowls Championships open singles final. Paxton has held a career-high world indoor ranking of 2 in 2015.
The Stalwart – Ellen Falkner
Team England athlete ambassador Falkner will be appearing at her fifth Games on the Gold Coast at the age of only 38 and boasts an impressive record. With gold medals at Manchester (fours), Delhi (pairs) and Glasgow (triples), the diminutive Englishwoman (1.57 m) is certainly not undersized in stature in the sport, as she is arguably one of the finest female bowlers in the world.
The Young Gun – Kieran Rollings (Para-sport)
Rollings is the youngest member of the squad at just 18 years of age when he makes his Games debut on the Gold Coast to team up with Glasgow bronze medalist Paul Brown and Bowls England National Triples winner Mike Robertson, in the Para-sport Triples event. The Northamptonshire youngster, who suffers from cerebral palsy, won his first international cap back in 2015 and boasts an impressive junior record in his home country.
Mike Robertson (Bowlers with a disability)
Kieran Rollings (Bowlers with a disability)
Paul Brown (Bowlers with a disability)
Steve Simmons (Vision-impaired)
Alison Yearling (Vision-impaired)
Image Caption: Ellen Falkner, Sian Honnor and Sophie Tolchard – Women’s Triples Gold Medalists – Glasgow 2014