One of the most dominant months of bowls in recent memory has rocketed the recent dual World Championships silver medallist and Australian Jackaroo to the top of the national player rankings system.
After lying 17th at the end of March, two victories at the Victorian State Championships in the State Singles and Champion of Champion singles, as well as a runner-up finish in the tier 3 Victorian Masters Singles at Richmond Union, have catapulted Lester ahead of Aron Sherriff into first place and fulfilled a childhood dream.
“As a kid I loved my sport and always dreamed of getting to number 1 like players in other sports. As I’ve got older I’ve had a lot more focus on team performance at club, state and Australian level, but being the current number 1 is something I don’t take for granted.” said Lester.
“I’ll use my current rankings as motivation to work harder and be better.”
Lester was not the only Victorian benefiting from a strong State Championships, with stalwart Garry Ball leaping from 13th to 5th. It was also a fruitful month for South Australians, with three-time Australian Open champion Nathan Pedersen in particular benefiting from a strong State Championships, jumping from 12th to 4th.
With four men separated by less than 100 points at the top of the leaderboard, it is now all to play for at the lucrative Australian Open, with Sherriff and Pedersen in particular needing to match their strong showings in 2016 to stay near the top once their points from last year lapse.
The race for the top in the women’s rankings has once again flipped, with the months-long see-saw between Jackaroos Carla Krizanic and Natasha Scott once again tipping in Scott’s favour after a runner-up finish at the tier 3 Adelaide Masters Singles, despite Krizanic’s victory in the Mixed Pairs and runner up finish in the Champion of Champion Singles at the Victorian State Championships.
With the two leaders playing together in the Pairs and Fours at the Australian Open, Scott in particular needs a high finish in the Women’s Singles, as the points she received for winning that event in 2016 lapse prior to this year’s event.
Of the other contenders, Canadian Kelly McKerihen looks ominous having taken out the Bareena Pairs in April, while Victorian young gun Kylie Whitehead was the biggest mover this month after taking out the Women’s Singles and Fours titles at the State Championships (as well as the non-rankings Under 25 Singles) to leap from 62nd to 9th.
The highest ranked bowler from each state is as follows:
Top ranked players by state (men):
- ACT: Adam Jeffrey (overall ranking – 31st)
- NSW: Aron Sherriff (overall ranking – 2nd)
- NT: Trystan Smallacombe (overall ranking – 30th)
- QLD: Kurt Brown (overall ranking – 9th)
- SA: Nathan Pedersen (overall ranking – 4th)
- TAS: Lee Schraner (overall ranking – 3rd)
- VIC: Barrie Lester (overall ranking – 1st)
- WA: Clive Adams (overall ranking – 29th)
- Overseas: Ryan Bester (overall ranking – 7th)
Top ranked players by state (women):
- ACT: Sharon Steele (overall ranking – 21st)
- NSW: Natasha Scott (overall ranking – 1st)
- NT: Colleen Orr (overall ranking – 11th)
- QLD: Ester Regan (overall ranking – 5th)
- SA: Cassandra Harvey (overall ranking – 7th)
- TAS: Rebecca Van Asch (overall ranking – 4th)
- VIC: Carla Krizanic (overall ranking – 2nd
- WA: Helen Morss (overall ranking – 26th)
- Overseas: Kelly McKerihen (overall ranking – 3rd)
Overall Player Rankings (Men)
- 1st Barrie Lester (VIC): 352
- 2nd Aron Sherriff (NSW): 337
- 3rd Lee Schraner (TAS): 315
- 4th Nathan Pedersen (SA): 285
- 5th Garry Ball (VIC): 239
Overall Player Rankings (Women)
- 1st Natasha Scott (NSW): 456
- 2nd Carla Krizanic (VIC): 442
- 3rd Kelly McKerihen (Overseas, CAN): 261
- 4th Rebecca Van Asch (TAS): 245
- 5th Ester Regan (QLD): 225.1