Aussie greens welcome Oak Bay bowler

Local lawn bowler excited for Australian experience in final junior competition

Jaymee Sidel

Oak Bay lawn bowler Jaymee Sidel will represent the region and nation in Australia in her last event as a junior competitor.

After confirming that not every nation was able to send a female athlete, World Bowls reached out to Canada to invite a third entry to play in the women’s singles and to partner in the mixed pairs event with one of the already confirmed male competitors from a nation with only a single entry.

As the second-ranked female athlete from the initial selection process, Oak Bay Lawn Bowling Club’s Sidel earned the spot in the 2016 World Junior Championships in Queensland, Australia.

Sidel competed with the Canadian team at the Tiger Bowls tournament in Hong Kong and the China Open in Shenzhen two years ago as the Canadian U25 champion.

During that trip a travel mix-up left two team members behind for several days and after sorting out the legalities, a pair of Australians joined the Canadian team for a handful of games.

“That was my favourite part, bowling with another country and seeing how they bowl,” she said.

The sense of camaraderie is something she’s always enjoyed about the sport, and is excited to explore again on the international level. While there she’ll pair up with an Irish fellow for the partners competition.

“I’m looking forward to meeting people my age from different countries,” she said.

Her sister too was a high-calibre lawn bowler who competed Australia. After hearing the stories, it’s a dream trip for Sidel.

“It’s such a big deal down there. I’ve heard many people say they build a green, and build a plaza around it with pubs and restaurants,” she said. “It’s part of the culture down there.”

It helps that athletes are more in their 20s and 30s than the senior citizen crowd; though she’s a fan of her crowd at the Oak Bay Lawn Bowling Club that sports a senior or two. “I will always bowl here (in Oak Bay) no matter where I live in Victoria. They’re so supportive and have watched me grow into the bowler I’ve become. It’s a great atmosphere,” she said.

But it won’t be all fun and games; she knows the competition will be particularly challenging.

“It’s going to be a hard competition, it’s going to be a different level of competition entirely. It’s a lot of mental preparation. I think about games I’ve lost and how I handled that, I think about games I’ve won and how I handled it,” she said.

“My goal is to give them a hard time … If they want a point they’re going to have to work, I’m not going to just hand it to them.”