CLARKE: IT STILL FEELS LIKE A DREAM
The now former Right at Home Jackaroo Lynsey Clarke admits that the fairytale ending to her international career still feels like a dream (writes Val Febbo, Bowls Australia).
It was just over a week ago that the Queenslander walked off the green for the final time as an Australian representative, but what made it different was the World Bowls Championships gold medal dangling around her neck.
Clarke, Dawn Hayman and Kelsey Cottrell clinched the Jackaroos’ fifth title of the fortnight on the Gold Coast, with the 39-year-old chaired off after the win by fellow teammates in Ellen Ryan and Kristina Krstic.
Speaking on Bowls Australia’s (BA) ‘The Right Line’ podcast, the Club Tweed product is processing the fact that her international career actually did conclude in such a manner.
“It’s still a buzz and it’s been several days now but it feels very much like a dream, a dream come true,” she said.
“I announced my retirement in May so I knew this was going to be my grand finale and I had no pressure or expectations on me to finish on top of the world, these things are out of your control.
“But it was written in the stars and I was surrounded by my amazing teammates in Kelso and Dawnie, as well as the wider Jackaroos squad, family and friends.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in and I don’t think it will for a long time.”
On the tournament’s final Sunday at Broadbeach, the Australian unit would meet New Zealand’s Leeane Poulson, Tayla Bruce and Val Smith in the decider and an early 12-5 buffer would prove insermountable.
Smith’s efforts ere defiant in the second half of the contest, ensuring that the Jackaroos would need the full allotment of 18 ends to clinch the gold, but with the Blackjacks requiring a huge count of five to send the match to an extra end, it was going to prove challenging.
With a healthy amount of bowls around the head, Clarke’s dream became the reality on the New Zealand veteran’s second last bowl.
“It was probably Val’s second last bowl that it started to sink in that I thought we had done it.
“She finished a little short of where she wanted to get to in order to make that five, and I looked over at Dawnie and in the corner of my eye I had a little tear,” Clarke added.
“We had held ourselves in good stead throughout the two weeks in not trying to let our emotions get the better of us and just focus on the determination and the game at hand but at that moment I started to get choked up.”
It was a flawless way to rebound for the triples team, having lost in the final of the women’s fours on the first Saturday of the tournament.
The trio and Krstic had previously gone undefeated before falling to England at Helensvale, but the veteran of more than 450 international appearances took an abundance of positives from the silver to be confident for the triples.
“It was pretty special, we had a pretty flawless two weeks and were undefeated in the fours until the final loss to England who were just too good on the day but we went away taking a lot of positives,” Clarke said.
“We judged ourselves not being on top of the podium that day but how we competed, we gave it everything we had and supported each other.
“We felt the bitter disappointment and were then able to reset and continue on our way.
“It’s such a tight unit and our women’s five are all so close.”