It was a long journey, and some of were more affected than others, but morale is high, and we can’t wait to get out there and throw a bowl in anger,’ said team veteran Gus McKinnon.
‘The biggest surprise is the speed of the greens, because we always expect Aussie greens to be ultra-fast, but these are brand new greens, and are running quite slow – something akin to British conditions at the start of the season,’ he said.
‘At least they are firm and true, and are more than likely to speed up as the Games get under way,’ he added.
‘Everyone thinks that the slow greens will suit the players from the northern hemisphere, but most of would prefer fast surfaces.’ As skip of the Jersey men’s pair, Gus will line up with Derek Boswell at lead, and the Jersey duo open their campaign tomorrow with a clash against a pair from Norfolk Island.
They are scheduled to meet Fiji on Friday, Niue (pronounced ‘Newey’) on Saturday, and will complete their group campaign with games against Papua New Guinea and Scotland on Sunday.
The group stage will all be over so quickly for Alan Shaw, John Lowery and Lee Nixon, with their four matches scheduled to be played over two days – tomorrow and Friday – against South Africa, Scotland, Norfolk Island and England.
In a group like that, and with two places in the quarter finals at stake, they will do well to survive to the knockout stage.
By contrast, the Island’s women have been drawn in larger groups for pairs and triples, and will at least have the satisfaction of being tested over a seven match round-robin series.
With four places in the quarter-finals at stake, Gaynor Thomas and Suzie Dingle meet pairs from Fiji, the Cook Islands, New Zealand, the Isle of Man, Niue, Wales, Samoa and Northern Ireland – and are expected to clinch their place in the last eight.
In a tight schedule – they are required to play three matches tomorrow and another three on Friday – Christine Grimes, Gean O’Neil and Gina Le Long come up against Cook Islands, Samoa, Australia, Norfolk Island, Canada, New Zealand and Botswana.
So, what of Allan Quémard and Karina Bisson, who carry Jersey’s hopes in the men’s and women’s singles, but do not get their challenge underway until Saturday? ‘AQ’ has a fighting chance of reaching the knockout stage, though he will have to finish in the top two, and has top stars Darren Burnett, from Scotland, and South Africa’s Gerry Baker in his section.
He will also meet players from Malta, Fiji and Cook Islands.
Bisson also has a tough draw, with Maria Rigby from the host country and Welsh star Betty Morgan Morgan favourites to go through – though the Jersey player is capable of beating both of them, and should certainly manage to beat the Canadian and the Norfolk Islander.
With a brand new format that has come under fire from traditionalists, likely to cause many upsets, this must be one of the most unpredictable tournaments in the history of the Commonwealth Games.