Ali Forsyth – the Kiwi who’s flown south
New state, new job, new life, new goals.
Bowls Clayton’s Ali Forsyth is in the midst of some major changes in his life, but there’s one thing he wants to win back.
The New Zealand representative recently left Sydney powerhouse Taren Point Bowling Club to make the move south and take on the bowls co-ordinator’s role at the south-east Melbourne club.
An even bigger change he is looking forward to comes towards the end of this year, when long-time girlfriend and fellow bowler Kelly McKerihen makes the move from Canada to join him in Melbourne.
Taking that step from long-distance relationship to being together fulltime has been provided in large part by the certainty of his new role running Bowls Clayton’s day-to-day bowls operations.
Forsyth, 35, also has one eye on life beyond international bowls, believing the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast may be his big-time swansong after a career which has netted the World Champion of Champions Singles, a World Championships medal, and a swag of other honours.
“The situation with my life is I might not have many more opportunities (to play internationally) after 2018,” Forsyth told bowlsvic.org.au.
“So I’d really like to make the most of the next two or three years and try and get a gold medal in both the World Championships in Christchurch next year and hopefully replicate that on the Gold Coast at the Commonwealth Games.
“The possibility is I might hang up the bowls shoes after Gold Coast.”
First Forsyth must win his way back into the New Zealand reckoning.
He’s been left out of the national team for the Asia-Pacific Championships later this year – to be played in Christchurch and a key plank in New Zealand’s 2016 planning.
He makes no secret of the fact it’s stung him.
So Forsyth will use November’s week-long Australian Premier League campaign with the New Zealand Blackjacks, and the week-to-week season-long pressure-cooker of Clayton’s pennant season to prove his form is better than ever.
“We don’t have too many events that get national TV coverage, and this obviously goes across to New Zealand as well,” Forsyth says of the APL, in which the Blackjacks have made the past two semi-finals.
“This might not be a fully fledged international, but it’s pretty close to it. The competition is of the same calibre as an international event.
“I was a bit disappointed not to make the Asia-Pacific side in November-December, and this is an opportunity for the selectors to see me playing well. This is a great opportunity for me to prove a point, and I’ve only really got two or three opportunities to do that.”
Forsyth’s move to Melbourne – a city he’s always loved – exposes him to the pennant-mad state that is Victoria.
The competition that drives the state’s bowls fraternity is driving him, and doing well for Clayton in the Taylor Bowls Premier Division this season is critical in his thoughts.
He’s off to a good start in Clayton’s pre-season – helping his club to make the National Five-A-Side Challenge at Helensvale on the Gold Coast recently where they were narrowly beaten by NSW giants Warilla.
“It’s a bit of a religion down here – something similar to the AFL support down here. It’s something that really consumes every member of a club,” Forsyth said as he replaces Scottish international Graeme Archer in the role at Clayton.
“I’m lucky in the sense that (NSW) pennant was something that Taren Point held in really high regard, so in that respect it’s not too much of a change.
“I’m coming from a culture which is a very competitive and successful one, so I’m hoping I can replicate that and continue the good work that’s been done at Clayton before me.
“It’s got a bloody good culture there … everyone seems to get on really well.”
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