By Gert de Jager
An experienced Protea bowling team will take part in the 2023 World Bowling Championship in Australia in the next two weeks.
A total of seven of the 10 team members participated in the Commonwealth Games last year – Jason Evans and Colleen Piketh (SA’s most experienced players), Wayne Rittmuller, Esme Kruger, Bradley Robinson, Anneke Snyman and Thobelo Muvhango.
Niksa Benguric and Francesca Baleri made their debut for the Proteas in the African tournament in Namibia in May and the steady inclusion of Victor Siphali complements the team well.
Teams from 44 countries will be in action in the battle for the 24 medals in eight divisions: singles, pairs, threes and fours for men and women respectively.
It’s the cream of the crop competing here and excellent bowling is expected. Australia have home court advantage, but that might just count against them because of the high expectations – and the pressure it puts – on the team.
For the first time in the history of the tournament which started in 1966, the physically challenged and visually impaired players are included in the championship and players from 12 countries will compete for the medals in three disciplines.
The experienced Herman Scholtz takes part in the mixed pairs with May Homer in the VIP section (visually impaired). They are assisted by Geoffrey Newcombe and Paul Homer respectively as guides.
In the men’s pairs division for physically disabled players, the Proteas’ medal hopes rested on Gareth Rees-Gibbs and Deon van der Vyver.
In the women’s open division, the singles and fours matches take place from 29 to 31 August. Piketh will participate in 10 matches in the singles division, while the foursome of Snyman, Kruger, Baleri and Muvhango will be in action in seven matches in their division of the competition.
The pairs and the women’s triples will take place from 5 September.
In the men’s open division, the pairs and triples competition will be played in four divisions from 29 to 31 August. Benguric and Rittmuller (pairs) will play nine matches in their division, while Evans, Siphali and Robinson will be in action in the triple play in seven matches.
From 5 September, the Proteas will continue the battle in the singles (Rittmuller) and fours (Evans, Benguric, Siphali and Robinson).