Sunbury Bowling Club’s Mikayla Long continues to show why she’s seen as one of the country’s best young lawn bowlers.
Having taken out the Victorian under-18 title in 2015, Long is starting to build an impressive resume.
She’s part of the Victorian under-18 team and has been selected in the Australian Junior Jackaroos 2016-17 squad, which is a development squad for the best six male and female under-18 players in the country.
The 17-year-old was shocked by her results at the Australian Open in the under-18 girls event late last month.
She made the final, before losing to Jessica Srisamruaybai, 21-6.
Long entered the event wanting to get through to the knockout stage of the competition, but well and truly exceeded expectations.
“I wasn’t expecting to go that well,” she said.
“I just wanted to get through the sectional stage of the competition where you play three other girls. It was pretty exciting when I kept winning.
“I was pretty nervous in the finals, I’d never played her before. She made the final last year.”
The result caps off a big 12 months for Long.
She finished runners-up at the Victorian under-18 titles in singles and won the pairs title with fellow Sunbury bowler Lisa Trewarne earlier this year.
It’s the second straight year the two girls, who have both played for Victoria, have taken out the pairs title.
“I had been expecting to go well in the Victorian Open,” Long said.
“I knew I had a tough sectional draw, but was hoping to get through that. It was pretty exciting to win the pairs again.”
Long also made the move from Glenroy Bowling Club to Sunbury before the start of last season, along with her brother Paul and father Wayne. It’s because of her dad she took up the sport as an 11-year-old, with many people still surprised someone so young is playing bowls.
All three played in Sunbury’s top side.
Long said there was a couple of good reasons why they moved from Glenroy to Sunbury.
“Carla Kriznaic plays there and she’s a world champion,” Long said.
“My Victorian coach Mark Cowan also plays at Sunbury. It means I can get more coaching.”
Long term, Long, who is juggling bowls with completing year 12, wants to play for Australia and make a Commonwealth Games Australian team. Next she’ll compete in the Junior Golden Nugget competition, where she’s hoping for another good result.
In other results at the Australian Open, former Kyneton bowler Chloe Stewart was part of the winning women’s fours team. She also made the semi-finals in the pairs.
Carla Kriznaic made the last 32 of the women’s singles, the last 16 of the women’s fours and semi-finals of the women’s pairs.