Australian bowls’ most exciting young talent, Coolum’s Kelsey Cottrell, is back and gone – all at the same time.
As word came through that she was in the Australian squad for this year, after a six-month self-imposed exile from the game, the 18-year-old enforcer of the rinks was preparing for a new competitive life on the Gold Coast.
The new Griffith University journalism student hopes to develop her game from mixing with Commonwealth Games gold medal champ Kelvin Kerkow.
“I think Kelvin being there was what decided my joining the club – he has a wealth of experience.”
Cottrell said leaving her mother and new state team member Marilyn Clayton behind for the Gold Coast uni campus was going to be tough, but the offer of a study scholarship was too good to refuse.
“Mum would never leave Coolum – she loves it too much – and I’ll find it pretty strange if I ever play any of the Sunshine Coast teams this year,” Cottrell said. “I’ll always be a Sunshine Coaster at heart.”
Cottrell, who withdrew from major competition last year due to Year 12 studies, has been named in her fourth straight national senior squad along with Coolum’s Julie Keegan and Robbie Thompson of Mooloolaba.
“I made my first team at 14 so in a way I do feel like a bit of a veteran in some ways,” Cottrell said. “I’m really looking forward to getting out and being part of the (Australian) team.”
Cottrell said she will prepare with the squad before playing in the Australian Open in Shepparton Park, Victoria, next month before playing for Australia in a Tri-Nations tournament.
After feeling more comfortable as a team player early in her Australian career, Cottrell is now happy to go it alone for her country.
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