Author: Michael Barron, February 2022
The first honour is that Carla Banks, of the Garioch Indoor Bowling Club, all before her 23rdbirthday, appeared on TV at the 2022 World Singles and Mixed Pairs Championship at Potters resort’s international arena in Suffolk.
This year the draw for all competitions is by invitation. The Singles field comprises the top players in world rankings, and in mixed competitions, the pairings are drawn by ballot. This is because there could not be country qualifying competitions as a result of Covid throughout the UK, and Carla’s invitation is a great honour to feature in two World Indoor Championships.
Last year Carla qualified for the final of the World Mixed Pairs beating several pairs of internationalists, and medal winners, on the way. With Paxton (England) as her partner, they beat Mervyn King (England) and Marion Purcell (Wales) 7-6, 9-5, then David Gourlay (Scottish Coach) and Rednall (England) 6-6, 9-4 in semi-final, before going down to Anderson and Forrest (both Scotland)3-8, 5-6.
In last year’s Singles she was beaten by Laura Davies of Wales 7-8, 7-6 and 2-1 at the extra ends. It was a nail biting extra final end when Carla was beaten by the final bowl. Davies went on to win the World Singles two rounds later.
Carla’s first appearance on TV was on Friday 14th January (afternoon) for the mixed pairs and then again on Saturday 15th in the morning for her Singles
The mixed pairs are against English Internationalist, Alison Merrion, (Wales) and Paul Foster, a fellow Scot, while in the Singles she meets South African champion, Gillian Young. Should she win her singles match, she would face the winners of Laura Daniels ( Wales) v Allison Merrien (Guernsey)
Carla says , “Roll on January, the only regret I have is that I have missed practice because of a throat infection which laid low our whole family in late November/ early December”.
Can Carla feature in the 2022 Commonwealth Games representing Scotland at Bowls?
Earlier this year 10 ladies were selected to train and prepare for selection, with 5 or 6 being finally nominated to represent Scotland at Birmingham, the host city for the Commonwealth Games 2022 ,over 9 days, from 29th July to 6th August,2022. The team is divided into a Singles player and for 4s, then into Pairs and Triples.
Carla, who plays out of the Inverurie Bowling Club during the summer, has had to undertake various outdoor practice and coaching sessions over the last year, while always mindful of Covid restrictions.
To get into the team Carla has the proven record of winning national and international championships and representing her country for several years. Her first taste of Commonwealth Games was the Youth Games in Samoa when she was only 15.
Selection will be subjective but is well qualified for a place on the team with recent outstanding international performances in similar formats. She is against strong opposition, as the selectors might feel an obligation to see back, 2018 Commonwealth Bronze medalists, Leslie Doig and Claire Johnston, along with Silver Medalists, Stacey McDougall, Caroline Brown, and Kay Moran (not listed this year). This could mean but 1 or 2 places “vacant”. It is but hoped that current form rules the day and the best players are selected. Only time will tell!