With the global pandemic easing and the draw now complete, the stage is set at Naenae Bowling Club as New Zealand plays host to the 2022 World Singles Champion of Champions later this month (19-25 November).
The field will see 30 countries represented on the world stage, with each country’s respective national champion making the trip to contest a world title in Wellington. The men’s line-up will see all 30 countries in action, while the women’s discipline will be a battle between 16.
The format will comprise 10 qualifying games (drawn at random) in section play, with the top qualifier in the men’s and top two in the women’s sections progressing directly to the semi-final. Other qualifiers will include the next two best placings in each of the two men’s sections and the next four best placings in the sole women’s section - advancing through to a playoffs draw in a bid to secure their spot on the other side of the semi-finals draw.
Notable names include England’s Sam Tolchard, a four time commonwealth games’ medallist - including a silver and bronze in the pairs and fours in Birmingham this year, prolific Australian champion and reigning champion Lee Schraner, the well-performed Jersey prospect Ross Davis and local campaigner Kelvin Scott.
Recently added to the Bowls New Zealand High Performance Squad, Scott’s efforts in recent seasons have been nothing short of remarkable, with a highlight win in last year’s national men’s singles securing him the opportunity to show his wares on the world stage in the coming days. With expert touch and decades of experience to boot, Scott will undoubtedly be out to show he can mix it with the best around - eyeing up a podium finish and pushing his claim for further honours.
In the women’s field, New Zealand Blackjack Tayla Bruce will certainly be one to watch - recently returning from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games with two bronze medals and a strong track record on the domestic singles circuit, Bruce will be no stranger to elite competition and will be expected to be challenging at the pointy end of the tournament as the week progresses.
Australia’s two-time commonwealth games gold medallist and double world champion Carla Krizanic will also be crossing the ditch, looking to match the efforts of her fellow country representative Kylie Whitehead - the most recent winner in 2019 prior to the COVID-19 cancelled events.
Despite recently calling time on her international career, Krizanic, who has played more than 200 times for Australia, remains at the top of her game and has recently been in action for the Melbourne eXtreme team in the Bowls Premier League at Club Pine Rivers.
Other bowlers looking to make their mark will be the promising English star Stef Branfield, (last year turning heads as she took out two titles at the Bowls England National Championships - winning both the four bowl and two bowl singles disciplines), and Welsh protege Melanie Thomas.
As the dust settles at Naenae at the end of the month, both Bruce and Scott will be hoping to add to New Zealand’s stellar history in this competition - with Kiwis etching their name on the trophy seven times since its inception in 2003. Previous winners include Jan Khan, Sandra Keith, Ali Forsyth, Tony Grantham, Shannon McIlroy and two-time winner Jo Edwards.
Action gets underway on Saturday 19 November and will conclude with the Gold Medal match-ups on Friday 25 November.