Twist to the Lions’ tale

The Sunday Times - - SPORT - Clive Adams

SYD­NEY Lions will at­tempt to de­fend their back-to-back Bowls Premier League ti­tles at Pine Rivers Bowls Club dur­ing the week.

The Lions team of Aron Sher­riff, Ben Twist and Karen Mur­phy have taken Bowls Aus­tralia’s flag­ship event by storm in the last two in­stal­ments of the com­pe­ti­tion, as the Lions won last year at Pine Rivers and in Auck­land ear­lier this year.

The Lions have made one change to the team with young­ster Corey Wed­lock com­ing in, af­ter Twist was called up for na­tional du­ties in the Hong Kong In­ter­na­tional Clas­sic.

Wed­lock is ca­pa­ble of tak­ing Twist’s place and lift­ing the Lions into the fi­nals.

The Perth Suns will be rep­re­sented by the same com­bi­na­tion that played in Auck­land ear­lier in the year.

John Slavich gets his sec­ond chance on the big stage, fol­low­ing a fan­tas­tic con­tri­bu­tion in New Zealand.

Slavich adds colour and en­thu­si­asm to the al­ready lively event and is a per­fect fit.

Pi­eter Har­ris and Kristina Krstic will don the Suns orange, along­side new coach, Bowls WA Hall of Famer Lind­say Thorn.

In a coup for the tour­na­ment, ar­guably the world’s best player, Alex Mar­shall, has signed on for the Bris­bane Pi­rates.

Mar­shall’s only ap­pear­ance in the event was for the Mur­ray Steam­ers in 2014, when he took the ti­tle with Ryan Bester and lo­cal boy Michael Walker.

This time, Mar­shall will be re­quired to lead the way, with su­per­star Kelsey Cot­trell and Pine Rivers lo­cal Rob­bie Wild mak­ing up the Pi­rates squad.

A big show­ing from the New Zealand Black­jacks would cer­tainly not sur­prise.

The de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons from 2015 are back to­gether, with reign­ing Com­mon­wealth Games cham­pion Jo Ed­wards joined by the cur­rent world singles ti­tle­holder Shan­non McIl­roy.

World fours supremo Ali Forsyth rounds out the team.

The Black­jacks were the stars of the tour­na­ment on their home turf ear­lier in the year, and nar­rowly missed tak­ing the ti­tle.

A new fran­chise, the Illawarra Go­ril­las, join the com­pe­ti­tion, re­plac­ing the de­funct Ade­laide En­durance.

The Go­ril­las are backed by the pow­er­ful War­illa Bowl­ing Club, and are rep­re­sented by newly crowned world singles cham­pion of cham­pi­ons Aaron Teys, Scot­tish star Kay Mo­ran, and for­mer Perth Suns and Bris­bane Gold player Jeremy Henry, a mul­ti­ple world ti­tle holder who sets the record for play­ing for his third fran­chise in a se­ries that has only been go­ing five years.

Aus­tralia’s male and fe­male bowlers of the year, Bar­rie Lester and Carla Krizanic will both make their de­buts in this week’s event, along­side each other as part of the Mel­bourne Roys team.

The Bowls Premier League will be shown live on Fox Sports from Tues­day through to Fri­day from 3pm to 8pm each evening.

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