Ellen bowls off against Queensland rivals

BUSY BODY: Ellen Ryan has plenty on these school holidays.Follow @LloydScroope
Nanjing Night Net

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SHE’S in enemy territory ahead of the most anticipated Origin clash yet. But gun bowler Ellen Ryan (pictured) is too preoccupied with Queensland opponents of her own to worry about the threat of Mal Meninga’s cane toads.

The 15-year-old Australian champion is leading her state at the annual NSW v Queensland under 18s lawn bowls showdown, this year held in Mackay.

Hostilities on the green began on Monday and wind-up today. The interstate rivalry will reach a new height at 8pm tonight, when the New South Wales Blues attempt to end six years of Queensland rugby league supremacy.

Having experienced the pre-Origin atmosphere in person, Ryan, a year 10 student at Goulburn High School, will be coasting at 35,000 feet when tonight’s match kick-offs. She may not mind too much. Ryan’s been overloaded by the states’ competitiveness since games commenced on Monday morning. Ellen and her charges in blue held the upperhand when the Post went to press yesterday.

“So far, so good,” Ellen’s mum Kathie said green-side yesterday.

Ellen and her female teammates claimed five of the opening six matches in the singles. They were yet to begin the doubles campaign. Today, bowlers compete in the triples and fours format.

While the girls had the Queenslanders’ measure, their male counterparts were on the backfoot. The overall outcome is determined by both boys and girls results. Provided Ellen and her teammates continue to roll their opponents and the boys minimised the damage, the interstate shield is destined to return south of the Tweed.

“The girls are going well, the boys not so much,” Kathie said.

“Ellen looks in good touch. She won her first singles match and is on top in her second at the moment.”

The teenager from Goulburn is a marked played in Mackay. Ryan won gold at the Australian championships earlier this year and, despite her age, is already a regular in the NSW line-up.

“Who knows what’s going to happen?” Kathie said yesterday afternoon.

“Hopefully the girls can keep winning and the boys get a win or two up and NSW gets the shield,” she said.

There’s little rest for Ellen once the interstate series is completed today. Tonight she flies home and next week backs up for the NSW under 18s Girs’ Championship, where she will be joined by fellow Railway Bowling Club members Tracey-Lee Swift and Jodie Marshall.

From there she’ll team up with the aforementioned duo and fellow local bowler Andrew Caldow at the state championship in Warilla.

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