2016 National Champion of Champions
This was where it all started for Carla Krizanic.
All around her at Keilor Bowls Club as she marched to the 2016 National Champion of Champions women’s title was her history, her family, and a host of great memories.
Memories of following her dad David around the Keilor greens watching him play Pennant.
After the adults finished, rolling down a few lawn bowls in her basketball kit.
Eventually, taking up the sport seriously and playing it for the first time at Keilor.
Practising here ever since. Even celebrating her engagement to now-husband Tristan at the club.
“This club’s always been a big part of my family,” Krizanic says.
“I had my engagement party here.
“I’ve always practised here, because we just live down the road, and they’ve always accepted me as a member, even when I haven’t been playing here. So it’s nice to win here.
“When I saw this tournament was going to be at Keilor, it was a little bit of an extra incentive. It put a little bit of extra fire in the belly to win the State Champion of Champions.
“To win a national title at your first club, I was very keen from the second I found out it was going to be here.”
Krizanic’s family and friends turned out in big numbers during the three-day battle of State Champion of Champions winners from all over Australia to watch the Victorian go unbeaten in her five tournament matches and secure the coveted title.
Victory over NZ international and NSW Champion of Champions Val Smith (Merrylands) on Day 2 was important for Krizanic.
She put one hand on the trophy early on Day 3 with a 21-17 win over WA’s Lisa Featherby.
Then she sealed it with a grinding 21-15 win over NT’s Bronwyn Chandler.
Support has been everywhere for Krizanic during the tournament. Visitors and friends from nearby clubs have visited daily, plus a busload from Leopold on the Bellarine Peninsula two hours’ drive away on Day 1.
Husband Tristan has dropped in and out to watch on his way to and from work, while her Dad was among a large band of spectators watching as she secured a title which was a long way from her mind when she first picked up a lawn bowl at Keilor all those years ago.
“I started when I was about 15 or 16, but for years before that after Dad finished Pennant I’d get on the green in my basketball clothes and chuck a few bowls down.
“I thought I was going to be the next Lauren Jackson.”
Thankfully for Australian lawn bowls, Carla is a foot and a half shorter than our nation’s greatest ever female basketballer – and the sporting dream changed focus.
With the 2016 National Champion of Champions in hand, Krizanic’s next big assignments beckon – defending her Victorian Open title in Shepparton and then the World Championships in Christchurch in November.
Victoria’s men’s representative at the tournament – Rosebud’s Paul Twyerould – showed he was capable of mixing it with the country’s best with four wins and three losses in his seven matches.
The Rosebud bowler narrowly lost to WA’s Pieter Harris 21-20 in a thrilling Day 2 encounter, before having the scalp of 2015 Australian Open champion Aaron Teys seemingly in his keeping on Day 3.
Twyerould led 19-17, before Teys pulled two back, then produced one incredible shot to wrestle victory from the jaws of defeat.
It proved the turning point for Teys, who went on to win his final match to secure the men’s National Champion of Champions title.
Full tournament wrap-up, via Bowls Australia