Team Australia has returned home with two top ten finishes from five events at the 2019 World Women’s Championships in Las Vegas, USA.
For the first time since 2015, Australia were pitted against the world’s best female bowlers at a World Women’s Championship. National women’s head coach Dean Champ was beaming with pride on his team efforts in Las Vegas.
“I’m just feeling incredibly proud about how we performed over the past four days in competition” said Coach Champ. “I am most proud that the team functioned as a team, where no one dropped their heads if they threw a bad shot or low game or were staring at a 7-10 or stone 8 pin after a great shot. We kept the communication open and flowing at all times, tried to make some jokes to lighten the mood at times and game after game no one ever stopped trying to throw their best shot”.
“If we could have had a bit of luck and carried half the taps and near strikes we deserved, along with avoiding the undeserved 7-10s and stone 8-pins we would have been right in the mix against the best in the world. But that’s bowling!” explained Coach Champ.
A total of 178 bowlers from 34 countries packed the South Point Bowling Plaza over the week, which provided a special atmosphere to bowl in according to team member Rebecca Whiting.
“The world champs are like no other event in the world, even though I have been to three before this one, I still felt very nervous. The best bowlers on this planet all come to this event and it’s just incredible watching them go about their business”.
The singles event kicked off the championship with Whiting placing best for the Aussies. Whiting bowled an average of 220.83, 46 pins behind American superstar Danielle McEwan who claimed the last spot for finals (4th) and was crowned the eventual gold medal winner in the singles event. Whiting who at her last World Women Championship placed 100th in the singles event in Abu Dhabi in 2015, claimed the first of the two top 10 finishes for the Aussies finishing in 9th place.
“I am still in a bit of disbelief that I finished 9th in the world, I actually didn’t realise I had finished so high up until my parents gave me a call after the event” said Whiting. “During the games I was lucky to be paired with one of my close friends Bec Martin who always manages to keep me calm and sees things in my game before I do so she kept me very level headed. I tried not to pay attention to the big games being bowled around me and just play my own game and of course I am lucky to have that Australian attitude of never giving up, so that helps too!”.
“What made the biggest impression with me about Bec’s performance during competition was her leadership to keep supporting the team” explained Coach Champ. “Another standout for me was her spare shooting where I could almost count on one hand the amount of open frames she left over the 24 games”.
The two team rookies in Bree Macpherson and Jaimie-Lee Spiller were the Aussie stars that shone the brightest in the next event, Doubles. Bowling in the first squad, the girls finished 4th in their initial squad before placing 9th overall at the conclusion of the second squad. Macpherson averaged 213.67 over the six games whilst Spiller averaged 221 with a high game of 279 in the fifth game. Another top ten finish to the belt of the Australians.
“Bree and I had no idea of positional standings throughout the day and were so happy when we realised we had placed 4th in our squad. When Australia got called out on the public announcement we were ecstatic that we had finished that high!” an excited Spiller said.
“It was amazing the amount of support we got from the rest of our team mates and the rest of Australia back home”.
Next up the team split in two groups with the trio’s event up on the schedule. Both the Australian teams placed in the top half of the field by finishing 23rd and 27th. Dena Buxton averaged 220.50 in the Australian 2 team to lead the performances of the Australians. The coach admitted the trio’s event was a tough one but still took wins from the experience.
“In trios both teams didn’t quite fire and we couldn’t carry anything (a mountain of 7 pins) but still Australia 1 beat the Americans on our pair on the fresh, where they missed the transition” explained Champ.
The Australians finished the campaign strongly by once again finishing in the top half of the field by placing 12th place in the teams event. BecSquare duo – Bec Whiting and Bek Martin performed strongest for the Aussies averaging 213 and 212.50 respectively. The team finished 7th in the afternoon block, ahead of Columbia who went on to win the gold medal.The team’s event concluded Team Australia’s involvement in the championship with Whiting narrowly missing out on the top 24 cut for masters finishing 32nd on the all events table.
“Overall I have had a great time bowling the event, seeing where I am at against the world’s best and having the absolute best time on and off the lanes with my team” said Whiting.
The finishing places in the All Events table is proof that competition was fierce with a plethora of elite bowlers joining Whiting in missing out qualifying for the master’s event. Names such as Liz Kuhlkin (USA), Jordan Richard (USA) Daria Pajak (POL), Rocio Restrepo (COL) 2019 Malaysian Open winner Charlene Lim (SGP) , 2017 Brunswick Ballmaster Open winner and previous World Championship silver medallist Daphne Tan (SGP), young star Verity Crawley (ENG), and Birgit Poppler (GER) who has won a PWBA title and recently made the finals in the PWBA Lousville Open.
“No one got overwhelmed by who was around us and we soon saw that the pros are human too, getting splits if they dropped their speed and missing transitions in the oil pattern (which is how we outscored the USA in the first game of trios on the fresh). When you see Verity Crawley bowl a 141 game, or Masters Finalist and Singles Medal winner Danielle McEwan start with a 159 in the teams, you realise how hard it is out there for everyone, which made the team’s performance in my eyes even more impressive” explained Coach Champ.
“As far as the team’s performance, everyone bowled their heart out in competition and they gave it everything they had each session. It was physically and mentally draining for the athletes, but everyone was well prepared and we dug in and kept supporting each other to stay focused on what we had to do on the lanes to score” coach Champ said.
A key focus of the coach and team leading into the championships was an emphasis on creating a positive team culture. This has not only provided benefits for this week but aided in laying a strong foundation for the future of the Australian Women’s National Training Squad and teams.
“The biggest highlight for me would be how the team has come together and really got along” said a proud Whiting. “The camaraderie was really great to witness and we have all grown a lot closer. The women’s side have really got something special going on with the guidance of our coach Dean Champ, this championship and everything we did in the lead up to Vegas has made us stronger and will assist us in years to come”.