WAKEFIELD’S GOLDEN DOUBLE SECURES SUMMERSET ACCOLADE
For the third time in four years, Bruce Wakefield has been named the Summerset Para Athlete of the Year (B5-B8).
It’s an accolade he values and something he doesn’t take lightly, with each one, he says, holding special meaning and memory in its own right.
Reflecting on the season, Bruce took out the golden double at the National Championships, winning the Singles and topping the podium with Graham Skellern in the pairs.
“That was certainly one of the career highlights for me . . . being the first person to do the double – that was absolutely thrilling to be up there with Graham,” Bruce recalled.
“It’s been an interesting 12 months or so, that’s for sure. As has been the case for everyone, it’s not been easy with all the things coming and going around us, and the levels of uncertainty we’ve all lived through, but nonetheless, it’s been a big year on the green.”
With a temporary reprieve in the COVID chaos earlier this year, both Bruce and Graham tried their luck at the Australian Open – escaping New Zealand to put themselves in the mix at the multi-disability open pairs. A solid run of results saw the duo continue their national’s form, only to fall several bowls short in the final opposite Queensland pairing Serena and Anthony Bonnell.
Another season highlight included the unbeaten run in section play with the Parajacks at the National Bowls3Five Finals Weekend – though a loss to the eventual winners saw the side of Mark Noble and Lynda Bennett crash out of the televised action.
Though the loss was disappointing and tough to stomach, it was just another fine showing for Bruce at a high profile event.
“It’s been an interesting 12 months, that’s for sure. It certainly hasn’t been easy with all the things coming and going around us, but we’ve got on with the job and done our best,” Bruce said.
“The key thing for me is to make sure I play in the right position as often as I can, concentrating on drawing and putting bowls on the head . . . that’s the mindset I’m always in.”
And it’s that mindset that will see Bruce compete for a place at next year’s Commonwealth Games – hoping to go one step further after his silver medal efforts in the men’s triples with Noble and the late Barry Wynks.
“Having been part of the Gold Coast set-up and understanding the ins and outs of what goes on . . . I can draw on that experience. My goal is firmly set on being on that plane to Birmingham and while I know there’s a lot of work to be done between then and now, I’d love to be in that mix come February when they name the side.”
But before any selections emerge, Bruce is working towards a title defence with Skellern in the disabled
pairs and putting on a good performance in the open pairs leading for his coach and club mate Graeme Rees, both to be played at the Summerset Nationals in Christchurch come January.
Best of luck Bruce . . . keep up the great work.
*Bruce Wakefield is the 2020-21 Summerset Para Athlete of the Year (B5-B8)