A Saanich teen is set to knock down the perception that lawn bowling is strictly a sport for senior citizens.
Auzzie Chambers, 17, has been selected to represent North America in the Ultimate Bowls Championship, which gets underway April 2-3 in Victoria, Australia.
Chambers was chosen first overall in the draft by the North American Orcas, one of 26 three-player teams competing in the international tournament. The draft on Jan. 31 was streamed live around the world. The event is considered the sport’s most prestigious event, with more than $500,000 Australian in prize money up for grabs.
“I was looking forward to the chance to play in an event like this,” noted Chambers, who earned a silver medal in Boy’s Singles at the Canadian Youth Championship in Winnipeg in 2018.. “But to be the No. 1 pick makes it even more special. I can’t wait to join my teammates Loren Dion and Aaron Zangl. We hope to do North America proud.”
The fact he’s going to play in three tournaments with two seasoned players from the U.S. in an event that’s watched by more than three million people around the world hasn’t fazed Chambers at all.
“I don’t feel any pressure from being selected first,” he said. “I just want to do my best to represent North America. Playing for the chance to win the championship and some money makes it very special.”
Chambers only began playing six years ago when a client of his mother, a senior care worker, introduced him to the game.
“I’ve loved it ever since. While it has a reputation as a game for older people, that’s changing and it’s becoming a young person’s game as well. People my age will be shocked at how much fun and how challenging it is.”
Chambers is currently a member of both the Central Saanich and Juan de Fuca lawn bowling clubs. He is quick to credit his coach at Juan de Fuca Lawn Bowling Club, Davie Mathie, a former Team Canada player, for his success. “He’s been a major influence and a huge help in my career.”
Ron Hlady, vice-president of Central Saanich Lawn Bowling, said the club is proud of Chambers being selected for such a prestigious event. “We have watched him put in the time practising, being attentive to coaching, promoting our club,” Hlady said. “Aussie has invited a number of phys ed classes from Stelly’s High School to try the sport. His dedication and commitment will go a long way to his success.”
When he’s not making precision placements of the ball, Chambers works as an assistant general manager and director of scouting for the Victoria Cougars hockey team. “I played hockey growing up and I’m very passionate about both sports,” added Chambers, who plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in sports management in the near future.
In the meantime, his focus is clearly on the Ultimate Bowls Championship. “I went to New Zealand for a tournament in 2017. “It was quite an amazing experience, and I’m really pumped about going to Australia.”