Clarke bowls over her national rivals
EVER since Lynsey Clarke won gold in the pairs at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, alongside Australia's most-capped female Karen Murphy, she has been on an unstoppable path to becoming the nation's most successful bowler.
Clarke has gone on to win six national titles - more than any other Australian, and two world titles. And last month's Queensland singles champion is well on track to break Murphy's record of 475 international caps.
Clarke now has 256 for Australia, leading into the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow starting July 23, and could line up alongside Murphy in one of the disciplines. But it was her gold in the pairs alongside Murphy back in 2006, when Clarke was just starting to make a name for herself globally, that set her on the path to success, and the Australian captaincy.
"It was crazy playing alongside Karen in Melbourne," Clarke told APN.
"I had always looked up to her as a junior player and I was the new kid on the block back then.
"To win gold alongside my No.1 idol was amazing, the cool thing is now we're good mates."
Clarke knows her past success will not guarantee her another gold in Glasgow.
"It's going to be tough because the greens in the northern hemisphere are so much different," she said.
"Our greens out here are harder and faster. Over there they are more lush and slower."
Clarke, the bowls coordinator at the Helensvale club on the Gold Coast, has seen her sport change dramatically since her gold-medal triumph in Melbourne in 2006.
The increase of young bowlers coming through the ranks is why her enthusiasm to stay on top in her sport has not waned.
"So many kids are now getting involved through school programs," she said.
"And the new Australian Premier League competition (a fast-paced and modern competition launched in Melbourne by APL ambassador and celebrity Mick Molloy last year) is like our version of the Indian Premier League cricket competition.
"You can be any age in this sport. As long as the drive and commitment remains, I'll keep playing."