James Reynolds is facing possibly his toughest challenge yet to hunt for a Commonwealth Games berth.
He has been named in two international squads as selectors look to whittle away nominations to the final three that will represent Australia on the Gold Coast Next Year.
“Mate this is the toughest selection process yet,” Reynolds said.
Selectors from Bowls Australia should have cut the team to six by now, but seven players remain with every contender displaying qualities worthy of selection.
The three-time NSW Bowler with a Disability has plenty of experience in these high stakes scenarios, but said this year’s selection process was almost as daunting as the Games themselves would be.
Reynolds will form part of an 18-strong Aussie team to contest the Trans Tasman event against New Zealand, but he will also don the green and gold for the Multi-Nations event that will be held on the Gold Coast.
A spokesman from Bowls Australia said the Trans Tasman should have an added challenge this year.
“The annual Trans Tasman contest will boast added impetus this year, with the three-day international to be staged on the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games greens at Broadbeach, from May 31 to June 2,” the spokesman said.
“And selectors are set to place increased significance on performances.”
Reynolds said a number of international events were being staged on the Gold Coast as it would give an exact bearing on players’ abilities at the host club of the Commonwealth Games.
Joshua Barry, Tony Bonnell, Eddie Gollan, Ken Hanson, Chris Flavel and Joshua Thornton all remain in contention for a Commonwealth Games spot against Reynolds for the athletes with a disability triples event.
If successful, it would be Reynolds’ third Commonwealth Games Campaign, while Tony Bonnell was part of the team on the greens in Glasgow in 2014 – with Tim Slater filling out the trio.
“There are so many players worthy of representing our country, you can see the level of competition I am up against,” Reynolds said of his team-mates.
Reynolds said he was continually blown away by the level of support he received from the community, but in particular the Merimbula bowling club, who had backed him at every stage.
“I’m so appreciative of all the support I get,” he said.
Late last year, Reynolds received a $5,000 grant from the AMP Tomorrow Fund to help cover the cost of competition.
“AMP’s Tomorrow Fund has given away 142 grants to date and James is definitely one recipient who is close to our hearts,” AMP Tomorrow Fund manager Emma Turnbull said.
“His positivity is infectious, and he has a great attitude – we’ll be cheering him on alongside his community.”
Individuals (sorry, groups are not eligible) can apply for grants of up to $100,000 at ampstomorrowfund.com.au by 16 May.