Riley off to nationals

BOWLER Dylan Riley will head into the unknown when he plays his first match in the Australian Open at Melbourne on Monday.

Riley, 19, moved through to the championship when winning all three matches at a qualifying round held at his home club, Taree Leagues, last November.

On Monday he meets Victorian Thomas Webb in the opening match. Defeat will mean the end of his campaign.

Riley knows little about Webb and he has no idea what conditions will be like in Melbourne. But he's looking forward to the challenge.

Riley is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.

He doesn't believe nerves will be a factor.

"It all comes down to how I play on the day and how you prepare,'' he said.

The championship goes for six days so Riley's booked accommodation for a week, hoping he'll go deep into the tournament. Either way, he says it will be a great experience.

Riley's been practising three to four days a week and he's confident the preparation has been adequate.

He expects the greens will be slower than what he's used to around here but he believes he'll acclimatise quickly enough.

Riley will line up for Leagues in the No 1 pennants to start next month. He believes they have a 'good chance' of dethroning Tuncurry and winning the flag.

"We've picked up a few players from Taree West and that's strengthened us up,'' he reasons but has no hesitation in nominating the powerful Tuncurry as the side to beat.

Riley will also team with his elder brother, Dominic, in an attempt to win club pairs championship for the third successive year.

The event starts this weekend. His preference is for pairs or singles.

He was the member of a district championship winning fours team in 2009 and has twice been the district junior bowler of the year.

As a schoolboy he was a member of the Hunter Academy of Sport but says he's been largely coached by his dad, Mick.

He's received sponsorship for his Australian open campaign from Top Betta, the company assisting with travel and accommodation costs.

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