AO Disability Events

On Sunday 18th June, four of our members were involved in the disability events at the Australian Open on the Gold Coast.

Matt Sharrett and Wendy Flack were directors in the Vision Impaired event for twins, Mark and Ross, in their respective singles games. As a director, Mat and Wendy were on the green with the bowler, involved in every aspect of play except actually delivering the bowls. Mark is a good bowler, and Matt’s role was to read the head, call the shots, describe the position of bowls, and let Mark know the adjustments needed to correct. For Ross it was his first ever game of singles, so Wendy was there to guide and support, keep up his confidence, and advise on making corrections to draw rather than shot play. Both players did very well, coming up against current Australian and World Champions.

On the same day, JJ Landman and Bruce Eagles were markers for singles games in the Multi Disability Open Men’s Singles event. Players qualify for this event with any physical disability that affects movement, usually due to birth defects, diseases, surgery or injury. In particular, JJ and Bruce took a liking to Paul, a Victorian bowler with cerebral palsy. In his final sectional game, Paul came up against a New Zealander with the winner going through to knockouts. The game didn’t go Paul’s way on this occasion, going down 20-21 in a spectacular display of top bowls by both players. Given Paul’s inability to control his body movements, his delivery was absolute perfection, every time. Aside from the fine bowling, the game possessed a level of sportsmanship and pure joy in the game that brought tears to many eyes.

Later, while sitting around having a drink and reflecting on the day, all four Sorrento members agreed it had been an emotional and fulfilling day and left with a great deal of admiration and respect for all the players.