Bowler aims for 2018 Games

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - LAWRENCE GULLERY

Lynda Ben­nett is on track to make her sec­ond ap­pear­ance at a Com­mon­wealth Games.

The Te Awa­mutu woman who com­petes for the Hin­uera Bowls Club, won the New Zealand Open Dis­abled Triples ear­lier this year, with her com­pos­ite team of Bruce Wake­field (Christchurch) and Norm Earn­shaw (Pa­p­a­toe­toe).

She has been named in a group of top six bowlers which na­tional se­lec­tors will con­sider to take over to the Gold Coast in Aus­tralia for the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games.

Be­fore the fi­nal se­lec­tion, a New Zealand team will take on Aus­tralia in a trans-Tas­man tour­na­ment and there will also be an Eight Na­tions com­pe­ti­tion.

Ben­nett said those who were se­lected for the above com­pe­ti­tions might not nec­es­sar­ily be the play­ers head­ing to the Com­mon­wealth Games.

‘‘It’s about find­ing the right com­bi­na­tion. There are a few other bowlers who have come for­ward and they are pretty strong play­ers. They play well against abled-bod­ied play­ers and have to be con­sid­ered as well.’’

Ben­nett was named among the top six play­ers along with her Glasgow 2014 Com­mon­wealth Games team play­ers Mark Noble and Barry Wynks. The team won sil­ver at Glasgow. Other play­ers named in the group in­cluded Carolyn Craw­ford from Dunedin, Bruce Wake­field from Christchurch and Gra­ham Skellern from Carl­ton North.

Me­mories of the 2014 Com­mon­wealth Games pro­vide an in­cen­tive for a re­turn in 2018.

‘‘It was im­mensely re­ward­ing be­ing part of the games. I was pretty new to the sport, I’ve only just now been bowl­ing for eight years. So go­ing to the Com­mon- wealth Games was there for me.’’

Ben­nett started bowl­ing about 2009. She was liv­ing in Ara­puni at the time and in­volved in Twi­light Bowls. A move to Te Awa­mutu meant she be­came more com­pet­i­tive in the sport.

In 2011 she was the world dis­abled bowls sin­gles cham­pion af­ter play­ing the dis­ci­pline for the first time in South Africa. She was also run­ner-up in the pairs at the same event. pretty out

Ben­nett lost her arm fol­low­ing a car ac­ci­dent in 1989. She had been ac­tive in many sports in­clud­ing eques­trian and row­ing. Her move over to the Hin­uera Bowls Club had proved suc­cess­ful, where she has en­joyed more ti­tles and new friend­ships.

‘‘I like the chal­lenge. I think be­ing a dis­abled per­son, 90 per cent of games are against abled­bod­ied peo­ple. But it’s the friend­ships you make, play­ing in a team, which I en­joy.’’

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