Get to know Australian Open runner-up Maree Gibbs

by admin

Australian Open runner-up Maree Gibbs is back again with only one expectation, to have fun! Icing her knee after a morning of tough competition, Maree Gibbs’ ecstatic smile shines out, as she is excited for the rest of the competition and to be back here on the Gold Coast, a happy hunting ground for the Queenslander.

Calling Millmerran Memorial Bowls Club home, Maree is just like any other bowler, with the exception of taking home the $8000 runner-up cheque for last year’s Australian Open Women’s Singles. 

“It is (the Australian Open) a fantastic competition, and I’m excited to be back,” Maree said.

Beginning her Lawn Bowls career in the 90s, Maree never thought that she would reach a level where she would be able to compete in the finals of a national competition, on live television, where some of the best lawn bowlers in the world competed.

“I think bowls is the only sport where someone like me could play against the elite players and still have a chance,” said Gibbs.  

“No other sport you could really do it I don’t think.

“You just never know what your opponent is going to do, and you don’t know what’s going to happen until the last bowl is played.” 

After selling their property in rural Queensland, Maree and her husband Albert took the roads less travelled, and spent 18 months travelling around Queensland in their caravan.

Going from bowls club to bowls club, Maree and Albert competed in open Lawn Bowls competitions, making many new friends along the way with fellow bowlers. 

“It’s a great life, I love it,” she exclaimed.

While travelling to different tournaments around the country, Gibbs was lucky enough to meet her fours partners, Taleah Putney, Yvonne Lovelock and Christina Pavlov, and pairs partner Tracy Foster for the Australian Open. 

Maree has had some experience playing at the Australian Open, competing at both the Melbourne and Gold Coast venues, and has therefore seen the competition grow and develop over the years. 

Gibbs says the Gold Coast has proven to be a better destination to hold the Australian Open. 

“It’s a lot easier to get around, a lot of better facilities than Melbourne, the greens are nicer and there is a lot more places to stay locally,” said Gibbs. 

A common trait amongst bowls clubs, as Maree emphasises, is the friendly close knit community that has developed within them, all ready for a game of social bowls at any minute. 

“It’s just great friendship too, I came down here on Saturday and my husband left me because he said I’ll talk to too many people because I know so many people here,” she said.

“I have a yarn to everyone he reckons, because I’m from the country and it’s just so great, you know, everyone says ‘G’Day, G’Day’, and I always stop and talk.”  

Outside of the world of Lawn Bowls, Maree does a lot of voluntary work at the museum in Millmerran, where she also maintains a small block of land, but it is clearly her love of bowls that keeps her coming back for more. 

With so many fantastic lawn bowlers to be inspired by, Maree cites Australian captain Lynsey Clarke as her favourite player. 

At the end of the day, Maree never takes herself too seriously, reaffirming that she is here to have fun and play some good bowls.

“I just want to do the best I can and not make a fool of myself,” laughs Maree. 

Maree qualified for the knockout stages of the women’s singles and will meet former Australian representative Beth Quinlan in the round of 128.