One of the two "Major" international championships is World Bowls, which was first held in 1966 and is contested every four years (currently in Summer Olympic years). The World Championships were first instituted to fill the void created by the fact that Kingston Jamaica did not include Lawn Bowls in the program of the Commonwealth Games when they were the hosts in '66. According to what I could find the decision to drop bowls (and rowing) and replace them with rowing and badminton was controversial, caused protests and was carried out. Anyway, it was a blessing in disguise, since it spurred World Bowls into establishing a world championship, something that was long overdue. That first World Bowls was contested by 16 countries (Aus, Can, Eng, Fiji, HK, Ire, Jer, Kenya, Malawi, NZ, PNG, Rhodesia, Scot, US & Wales) in the middle of October. The sponsor was Ampol Petroleum Ltd. The Men's Overall Trophy was named for W.M. Leonard, the managing director at the time.
The schedule has changed over the years. The first five World Bowls had men and women competing in separate years (and separate venues). The next five events were in the same calendar year, but at different venues. 2008 marked the first time the men's and women's events were played at the time and venue. The World Bowls Ltd. site has a full list of all men medalists throughout the history of the event. The women's records are not quite as impressive, mostly listing only the gold medalists.
|1966||Men - Kyeemagh, Australia|
|1969||Women's - Sydney, Australia|
|1972||Men's - Worthing, England|
|1973||Women's - Wellington, New Zealand|
|1976||Men's - Johannesburg, South Africa|
|1977||Women's - Worthing, England|
|1980||Men's - Frankston, Australia|
|1981||Women's - Toronto, Ontario (only time in N.A.)|
|1984||Men's - Aberdeen, Scotland|
|1985||Women's - Melbourne, Australia| Year Men Women 1988 Auckland, New Zealand Auckland, New Zealand 1992 Worthing, England Ayr, Scotland 1996 Lockleys, Australia Leamington Spa, England 2000 Johannesburg, South Africa Moama, Australia 2004 Ayr, Scotland Leamington Spa, England 2008 Christchurch, New Zealand 2012 Lockleys, Australia
World Bowls may not be until November this year, but the event website is up and has lot of details about the event already, including particiapting countries, which nations are in which draw and who our Canadian team will be playing on which days. Check out the official World Bowls site and see for your self. There are some other interesting sites to have a look at such as Bob North's blog: which has the day by draw - thanks for all that Bob! Also drop in on Tim Mason's site.
And now the Canadian squad has been named and there is very much based on the Asia Pacific team that won 3 bronze at the exact same venues last in (2011). However half the team has been changed. John Bezear and George Whitelaw have been added, while Cary Manns, who was also inserted was forced to withdraw and has been replaced by Michel Larue. The women have seen two Lauras stepping to join Kelly, Jackie & Marg.
There is some controversy (it wouldn't be a National Team, if there weren't). Some of the selections have raised eyebrows. John Bezear and George Whitelaw, in particular, have drawn attention. But John was on the winning triple team a couple of years back that won the Australian Open - that's big - HUGE! And George is a former Scottish singles champion. The talent is there folks. But I'm not sure about the coach. Evidently Lachlan Tighe has resigned for 'personal reasons'. Don't even know when the resignation takes effect. If immediately, Canada's HPC had better find a replacement and quick. This is a good crew of bowlers, but you still need someone steering the ship. I would say someone who can keep the players in point and make those tiny course corrections that can often be the difference between winning and losing.
Athletes Positions Record Ryan Bester (Broadbeach LBC, NSW, Aus.) singles, pairs skip 22-3-0 (silver & bronze) John Bezear (Ont) pairs lead, fours skip 18-5-0 (bronze) Michel Larue (Que) triples vice, fours second 13-9-0 Steve Santana (Vancouver South, BC) triples lead, fours lead 13-9-0 George Whitelaw () triples skip, fours vice 13-9-0
Athletes Positions Record Jackie Foster (Dartmouth, NS) pairs lead, fours lead 6-16-0 Laura Hawryzsko (Ont) triples lead, fours second 10-12-0 Marg Lepere (Niagara Falls, Ont) pairs skip, fours skip 6-16-0 Kelly McKerihen (Toronto, Ont) singles, triples skip 16-7-0 Laura Seed (Toronto, Ont) triples vice, fours vice 10-12-0
Men's World Bowls was held in Johannesburg, South Africa (April 1-15) and featured the team of Dave Anderson, James Covell, Chris Grahame, Chris Stadnyk and Nick Watkns. The coach was Bill Boettger and the manager was Brian McCartney.
Singles: Jame Covell 18th
Pairs: Dave Anderson, Mark Sandford ___
Triples: Chris Grahame, Nick Watkins, James Covell 12th
Fours: Chris Grahame, Dave Anderson, Nick Watkins, Mark Sandford 10th
Overall, the Canadian men finished 12th overall out of 23 countries.
The Women's event was held in Moama, Australia (March 8-25). Canada's team was Doreen Creaney, Anita Nivala, Margaret Richards, Jean Roney & Maureen Thompson. Their record was:
Singles: Margaret Richards (10-6) 15th
Pairs: Jean Roney, Maureen Thommpson 21st
Triples: Doreen Creaney, Margaret Richards, Anita Nivala (10-6)
Fours: Doreen Creaney, Jean Roney, Maureen Thompson, Anita Nivala 15th
Overall, the Canadian women finished 15th out of 34 nations, up from their 18th overall place in 1996.
The Canadian Women's team at World Bowls 1996 in Leamington Spa consisted of Anita Nivala, Alice Duncalf, Jean Roney, Maureen Thompson & Noreen Welsh. The team improved on the previous World team standing of 18th overall by reaching up to 13th overall. Their individual results were 14th in the singles, 12th in the pairs, 18th in the triples and 9th in the fours.
Given that World Bowls is held only once every four years, and that the top bowlers from around the world consider this (along with the Commonwealth Games) the pinnacle of their bowls careers, it's not surprising that a medal of any colour is pretty hard to come by. As a country, Canada has won 6 medals; 1 gold, 3 silver & 2 bronze. Individually there have been a total of 13 Canadian men who have won a medal at World Bowls and only 3 with two medals.