Park Beach lawn bowler is a national junior champion

Joseph Clarke (middle) with his parents Peter and Susan after winning the Australian Open Under-18 title.


LOCAL lawn bowls phenom Joseph Clarke is a newly crowned Australian junior champion, after winning the Australian Open Under-18 title on the Gold Coast last week.

The 16-year-old won the national title with a 21-15 victory in the final against Central Coast bowler Bailey Meti.

The Park Beach Bowls Club member qualified for the final in dramatic fashion, having to come back from a 20-12 deficit in the semi-final before winning 21-20.

The NSW Junior squad member had a good lead in the final, leading 20-15 in the final end only to be down 3 shots with 1 bowl remaining.

A perfectly waited shot saw Clarke take the jack and followed it into the ditch to take the 1 shot he needed to win the title.

The new junior national champion was watched on by his father and fellow Park Beach Bowls Club member Peter, who emphasised the great young bowlers his son overcame to claim the title.

“He went up there a big underdog, as the guy he beat in the semi-final was one of the top two favourites to win the tournament, and the kid he beat in the final was number one in NSW,” he said.

“And out of the top 8 finalists he was the only one that wasn’t sponsored.

“He was definitely the underdog going against guys with more experience and older than him, so it was a huge feat and pretty special.”

The proud father told News Of The Area of the nerve-wracking moments spent watching his son as he fought back from the brink of defeat to win his semi-final.

“It was 10-all at one stage and then the other guy got out to a lead, and we were so nervous,” he said.

“It was very stressful and I’d say nervous was an understatement.

“But if you know Joe he never gives up, and while we were stressing,he had this calm look on his face and he just clicked into gear and took it up a level.

“He just got on a roll and you couldn’t stop him, and I don’t think the other kid saw him coming.”

The St John Paul College Year 11 student received great local support back home.

St John Paul College sports co-ordinator Danielle McAra shared with News Of The Area the tremendous support he received from his fellow classmates.

“As a student at St John Paul College, he was cheered on by his Year 11 cohort and many other students, as about 250 students watched the live stream of the match from the College Hall,” she said.

“To say we are excited about his win is an understatement, and the moment he bowled the winning bowl, the whole school erupted.”

The newly crowned Australian champion also received support from his fellow Park Beach Bowls Club members who watched the live coverage of the final at the club.

Clarke will represent St John Paul College when their lawn bowls team competes at the Northern NSW Interschool Lawn Bowls Championship in Sawtell on 12 August.

Clarke is also set to pair with fellow Park Beach Club member Corey Daley for the inaugural Phoenix Open Pairs on 20 September.

A full field of 42 teams will take to the greens including some of the best-known bowlers in Australia vying for $38,250 in prize money.



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