Katelyn Inch ready for Bowls on the big stage

24 Nov 2015

Written by Hanne Davis at The Press 

Canterbury's Katelyn Inch is ready for her biggest competition as a bowls player, and believes having a Blackjacks team full of familiar faces at the Asia Pacific Championships will only help at her biggest competition to date.

Inch will play in the triples alongside Sandra Keith and Angela Boyd with Val Smith joining the trio to compete in the fours during the tournament which begins on Tuesday in Christchurch.

"It's the biggest thing I've ever been involved in, so I'm really excited, and just looking forward to the opportunity," said Inch.

Being part of a team that also has Jo Edwards line up for New Zealand in the singles was the first step in Inch's transition from talented junior to a fully fledged international.

She said it would help having players like Keith and Boyd who are regulars around the Canterbury lawn bowls circuit and thinks they'll go a long way to calming her nerves..

"Really looking forward to giving it a go with those guys, they're good ladies and really cool to be with so looking forward to it.

"It's going to be a huge step up, obviously there's going to be a lot of the world's best competing there so it's going to be a huge challenge, but I'm going to learn heaps off the more experienced players in the team, which will be awesome."

Inch first started playing with her family in Oxford in 2009, and has since racked up a string of excellent results, including runner up in the mixed pairs at the Junior World Cup alongside Sheldon Bagrie-Howley.

"I starting playing when I was about 12 years old, and since then I haven't looked back and I've loved it.

"Such amazing opportunities have come from it, and the new friends and social aspect of it are also parts I love about it.

She confessed that when she started playing, she had no idea that it would lead to representing New Zealand on the international stage.

"One of my first tournaments I played with Jo Edwards, who I'm playing with this week.

"I was 12 maybe, she took a few young ones under her wing and we played with her. I looked at her, she was the top gun, amazing, and I never thought I'd get the chance to play alongside her." 

With play at Burnside and Papanui, Inch will be helped by playing on familiar greens as she makes her Blackjacks debut.

"It shouldn't be too different, other countries coming over will find it a bit quick on our greens, but hopefully for me it should be just like playing Saturday bowls."

With Tayla Bruce and Mandy Boyd missing from the New Zealand line up, there is a depth of talent in Kiwi bowls, as selectors look for their strongest combinations for the 2016 world championships.

"It's definitely a fight for positions amongst everyone to be honest," Inch said.

"You don't know what's going to happen so between now and then. whoever in the team is performing the best and giving their best, is going to get there in the end. It's definitely going to be a fight."

Although Australia will be one of the favourites, Inch said these tournaments have a habit of throwing up different winners and challenges from all corners.

"It could be anyone, there's so many different countries competing, so really anyone can step up and take charge on our greens.

"So honestly I wouldn't know what to expect, but I'm looking forward to finding out."

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