Teenager Curtis Hanley will take on a familiar face in his international debut for Australia when he meets New Zealand star Ali Forsyth in Tuesday’s opening round of the Bowls World Cup at Warilla Bowling Club, Mike Driscoll reports for the Illawarra Mercury.
The 18-year-old claimed his spot alongside reigning four-time champion, Warilla’s Jeremy Henry as Australia’s men’s Cup representative after being runner-up to Henry at the Australian Indoor.
It was the biggest result of Hanley’s promising career and he can’t wait to make his Australian debut in the singles tournament featuring 26 nations and 52 of the world’s best male and female bowlers.
‘’I’ve got heaps to learn but really looking forward to the experience,’’ Hanley said.
‘’I want to meet as many players as I can and soak up the experience. Having Jeremy beside me is going to be great because he pretty much owns the men’s (tournament).’’
Most of the star-studded field will be foreign to the country Victoria-based Hanley but Tuesday morning’s first-up opponent Forsyth – the reigning world championships fours gold medalist – will be a friendly foe.
‘’I know Ali from playing against him in the (Victorian) Premier League,’’ Hanley said.
‘’We’ve played a few times and it’ll be a good start for me to see someone I know.’’
Hanley is developing his career nicely, having been added to the open Victorian squad for next month’s Australian Sides Championships in South Australia.
He has come through the junior and under 18s ranks and is ready to take the next step – both for Victoria in the biggest teams event of the year – and on debut for Australia. Now in its 13th year, the World Cup continues to attract world champions and Commonwealth Games medalists and has been hosted by Warilla every year since 2006.
Running for eight days, the players are placed in two pools with matches against every pool rival. The finals are March 22.
Jeremy Henry is the defending men’s champion and chasing an unprecedented fifth men’s crown, while Australian Open champion Natasha Scott had an amazing 2016 and is Australia’s women’s rep.
Norfolk Island’s Carmen Anderson is the defending women’s champion, winning the title 21 years after claiming the world outdoor title in England. Four-time Cup champion Jo Edwards is representing New Zealand, while Scotland’s Lesley Doig is one of the world’s best indoor players.
Illawarra is also represented by Dapto Citizens’ Shaun Parnis playing for Malta, while Stephanie Hili is also representing Malta in the women’s field. The tournament begins from 8.30am on Tuesday. Entry is free.
DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS
Men: Jeremy Henry (Aust) v Malaysia (Sect 1, 8.30am); Henry v Namibia (Sect 1, 2.30pm). Curtis Hanley (Aust) v NZ (Sect 2, 8.30am); Hanley (Aust) v Philippines (Sect 2, 4.30pm).
Women: Natasha Scott (Aust) v Spain (Sect 1, 10.30am); Scott v Macao China (Sect 1, 6.30pm)