World champion Van Eldik queen of greens

A FEW words of wisdom from her experienced teammates have helped Raymond Terrace's Natasha Van Eldik overcome nerves to become the youngest Australian and only the second Newcastle lawn bowler to win a world championship.

The 22-year-old, who played lead, teamed with Karen Murphy and Lynsey Armitage to defeat New Zealand's Lisa White, Jan Khan and Mandy Boyd 21-9 in the women's triples world title decider in Adelaide on Saturday.

The only other world champion bowler from Newcastle is Fay Craig, who partnered Merle Richardson to win the women's pairs in Melbourne in 1985.

The victory caps a breakthrough year for Van Eldik, who was named 2011 Australian female bowler of the year in February.

At the time, she told the Herald that her focus was on qualifying for the world championships team.

Now a world champion, the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games representative's next goal is a medal at her second appearance, in Glasgow 2014.

"Being presented with female bowler of the year was something that I'll never forget but definitely winning a world title is a class above the rest," Van Eldik said yesterday after arriving home.

"To tell you the truth, I don't really think that it's hit me just yet that I'm actually a world champion.

"Once it's all settled down in a week or so, I think that's when it will hit me.

"But it's definitely the highlight of my career so far."

She said the support of her teammates proved crucial after a shaky start in the decider.

"To have the likes of Karen Murphy and Lynsey Armitage both in the team - two legends of the game - when you've got them backing you up, you're going to have a great time," she said.

"In the final, nerves did get to me in the first four ends or so, but they've been there and they know exactly what to say to you to calm you down."

There is little time for Van Eldik to soak up her success.

She heads to Tasmania on Sunday to try and qualify for next year's Australian Open.

Her win in Adelaide was part of a dominant Australian effort.

Ettalong Memorial's Aron Sherriff was skipper of the men's fours side of Wayne Ruediger, Brett Wilkie and Mark Casey which defeated South Africa in the 22-13 world title decider.

Sherriff earlier claimed a silver medal in the men's pairs with Leif Selby, losing 18-13 to Scotland.

Selby won the men's singles final against Canadian Ryan Bester 21-19 as Australia finished with five gold medals and two silvers from eight championships on offer. It gave them the Taylor Trophy as the top nation.

Australia's other winners were Murphy in the women's singles and Kelsey Cottrell and Rebecca Quail in the women's pairs.

WORLD CHAMP: Natasha Van Eldik at Raymond Terrace yesterday. Picture by Max Mason-Hubers

WORLD CHAMP: Natasha Van Eldik at Raymond Terrace yesterday. Picture by Max Mason-Hubers


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