Best underarm bowler since Chappell
Former cricketer Kepler Wessels is ready to let the good times roll. Former cricketer Kepler Wessels is ready to make his mark with a different kind of bowls, Terry Wilson reports for the Gold Coast Bulletin.
As an international cricket Kepler Wessels was as tenacious a fighter as there was.
The gritty left-hand opener, who played for both Australia and South Africa, has a similar approach to bowls, according to his Club Merrylands club mate Neil Burkett.
South African bowls legend Burkett has teamed up with Wessels in the pairs and fours of the $250,000 Australian Open, the biggest bowls tournament in the world, which starts today and winds up on Friday, June 25 with finals at Broadbeach.
Wessels and Burkett both start their singles campaign today, Wessels at Robina, then go for the pairs at Gold Coast Lawn on Tuesday and the fours at McKenzie Park the following Friday.
Burkett said Wessels phones him a few years ago and asked if he though he could make it in the sport.
“All I said was, well, just knowing the way he takes on a sport that he could,” Burkett said.
Time and work have served as a hurdle for Wessels and his commitment to bowls, yet he can still send down a handy delivery.
“When mu cricket career finished I wanted to try and do something to be competitive,” Wessels said.
“Bowls seemed to be, at that age, about the only thing that was left so I got into it and I’ve enjoyed it.”
Vessels is still heavily committed to cricket as a commentator and he also coaches mixed martial arts around that.
“Unfortunately through my work commitments I can’t play all the time but I try to play as many events as I can and I want to do well,” he said when discussing his Open chances.
“But I release I’m not full-time so it’s difficult sometimes to compete with the really top guys in the world.
“We have done well in South Africa at that level but the Australian Open is a different situation altogether.”
Defending champions Aaron Teys, 22, and Ellen Ryan, 18, are among the stars going for the Open crown.
Men’s singles competition starts with 864 competitors in sectional play at nine clubs using 24 greens today and continues tomorrow at 12 clubs.
Then the women take over for their singles on Monday.