‘The happiest bloke in bowls’: Meet 2017 Australian Open star Phillip Plackett

by admin

Phillip Plackett defied all the odds at the 2017 Australian Open (AO), taking out the Multi-Disability pairs with Bernie Wolland after having only seriously played the sport of bowls for seven months previously. Phillip Plackett defied all the odds at the 2017 Australian Open (AO), taking out the Multi-Disability pairs with Bernie Wolland after having only seriously played the sport of bowls for seven months previously. 

The 42-year-old took up the sport in October 2016 after having a previous two-month flirtation with the sport back in 2012. 

Hailing from the Penrith Bowling Club in NSW, Plackett’s original partner for the 2017 AO was forced to withdraw close to the tournament, prompting Mark Whitman and Bowls Australia (BA) to intervene and assist Plackett. 

Successfully intervene they did, with strangers to one another Wolland and Plackett teaming up to go on a memorable run on the Gold Coast greens. 

“It was pretty surreal,” he said. 

“We just went through game by game. Scraped through game by game. It was pretty thrilling all the way through it.

“The ending of the pairs final was quite thrilling too. It came down to an extra end on the last bowl. The atmosphere was great.”

“I didn’t really know what to expect because I hadn’t been in a big tournament like that before.”

“I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was two weeks away from work. A holiday combined with playing bowls.

“There was a lot of support from people I didn’t know. I was the happiest bloke in bowls.”

Image – Phil Plackett (left) with Multi-Disability pairs partner Bernie Wolland
Diagnosed with inclusion body myositis and late-onset muscular dystrophy, Plackett began using an electric wheelchair in 2011 and despite challenges in using his chair on the greens and financial hurdles, he returned to the sport with gusto in 2016/17.

Following his AO triumph, Plackett went on to win a state title and also be nominated for a NSW Disability Bowler of the Year accolade. 

“It’s important for people with disabilities to be active in the community,” he said. 

“Anybody can play the game… It’s a sport that does not discriminate.”

Plackett is keen to enter in the AO again this year and will be hoping for another fairytale run. 

Over 2,000 bowlers from across Australia, and indeed the world are expected to attend again, with entry being completely open to any registered bowler!

Not only is the AO the World’s Biggest Bowls Festival, it is also the richest bowls event in the world with a staggering total of over $250,000 prize money across more than 780 prize money placings in the 16 disciplines.

Bowlers can enter any one of the open disciplines on offer (singles, pairs and fours) or enter age-specific Under-18, Over-60s or Bowlers with a Disability events – for a full breakdown of the disciplines head to australianopen.bowlsaustralia.com.au!

Click here to enter in the 2018 AO! Entries close April 15
Image – Phillip Plackett in action during the 2017 AO