Champions relish Golden Eagle challenge

DEFENDING Golden Eagle champions Phil Westcott and Glen Raymond are hoping a winning combination will be able to trump the star quality littered throughout this year’s classic field.

The duo are back to defend the title they won last year in a pulsating final, edging the pairing of Jamen Lewis and Tomas Nathan 21-20 in extra ends.

Beginning in section three of the 2014 Local Bloke Removals Golden Eagle, Westcott said he was looking forward to the challenge of defending a title against the likes of South African Commonwealth Games gold medallist Neil Burkett and world number two bowler Jeremy Henry.

“It is a strong, exciting field this year,” Westcott said.

“Can’t wait to play. I defended the title I won at the Carillon Fours in Bathurst in December so I’m looking forward to the challenge of being able to do it again at the Eagle.”

On top of Westcott’s win in Bathurst to end the 2013 calender year in fine form, the Ashfield-based gun has also chalked up an impressive win in Goulburn.

“I’m in reasonable form,” he added.

Tellingly, his Goulburn triumph was on water-logged greens and if the current forecast rings true, then Westcott and Raymond will be forced to roll for the 2014 Golden Eagle throughout a rain-interrupted tournament at Orange City, Country Club and Newstead bowling clubs.

Also weighing in the defending champions’ favour, last year’s decider was played out in the rain.

“I prefer the freer-running surfaces ... we’re at the Country Club to begin with so I’m not sure how those greens play, I’ve never been there before,” Westcott said.

“We won in the rain last year so we’re getting used to it now.”

Although tough, the experienced tournament winner says he enjoys the formatted quarter-final, semi-final, final nature of the Eagle tournament, now in its 46th year.

“It’s a bit harder to make it than most other tournaments,” Westcott said.

“I just played in the Cowra Festival of Fours and it was the luck of the draw over there. That’s what makes it a little harder here. It’s fairer but tougher.”

The 2014 Local Bloke Removals Golden Eagle begins on Monday.

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