Larne bowler Andrew Kyle is preparing to take on some of the best players on the planet.
The 37-year-old is counting down the days to next month’s World Bowls World Cup in Australia where he will represent Ireland in the Singles.
Kyle, who first became a member of Larne Bowling Club at the age of 14, boasts an impressive list of achievments in the game, but has never played on a world stage.
And now he’s relishing the prospect of delivering a top performance down under.
“I am really excited and looking forward to competing in the tournament,” he said. “And I’m looking forward to visiting a part of the world and a culture that I haven’t considered before.”
Kyle (inset) was first told of his selection in the autumn and admitted his inclusion was a little unexpected.
“I was understandably over the moon and possibly a bit surprised at the selection because only one representative goes from Ireland; I didn’t consider myself to be in the running.
“It’s the first time I have been selected for a World Bowls event and also the first time I will be travelling as far as Australia to play.”
He’s under no illusions of exactly how tough the tournament will be and he’s anticipating that the host nation and New Zealand will be among the front-runners. However, he’s determined to go there and give it all he’s got.
“I expect it to be extremely tough. With only one representative present from each country, the calibre of opponent is likely to be extremely high.
“The southern hemisphere countries are predominantly very good in their own countries and I would expect Australia and New Zealand to be up there as favourites.
“But, I have great belief in my own ability and if I can play to my own high standards, I can compete with anyone.”
So what will his preparations be between now and the tournament?
“I will practice three times or so a week over the next couple of weeks in my local bowling stadium up until a week or so before leaving.
“I have two days of scheduled practice in Australia available before the tournament commences,” he said.
n A table quiz will be held at Larne Bowling and LTC on February 19 at 8pm. All proceeds from the quiz and ballot to help fund Andrew ahead of his trip to Sydney.