Pearse joins eXtreme for BPL

Ray Pearse (Bowls Australia)

Inaugural Melbourne eXtreme member Ali Forsyth will miss the upcoming Bowls Premier League 19 competition.

Forsyth, the only member of the team to compete in every event so far for eXtreme, will miss the tournament with illness.

Former most valuable player runner-up and reigning Australian indoor champion Ray Pearse will step into the side.

Pearse is no stranger to the BPL, having previously represented the Sydney Lions and Perth Suns, with his most recent event being at BPL13 in April 2021.

Overall, the New South Welshman has taken part in 75 matches at the tournament and guided Perth to its most recent finals appearance on the Murray at BPL12, where he would finish second to Scott Thulborn in the race for the MVP award.

Pearse is looking forward to heading back down to what he considers a venue that he thrives at in an event that he relishes.

“It’s been three years now since I was at Perth but I got the call from [now teammate] Matt Flapper and [eXtreme team manager] Marc Bullows yesterday [Thursday] to have another crack at the BPL,” he told the Bowls Victoria website.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing at the BPL with the best players in the world, especially having Alex Marshall back in the tournament.

“I can’t really tell what it is but every time I’ve played at Moama it’s been a happy hunting ground.

“It’s a kind pace on that carpet and it’s built for good bowls and I think it’s the environment, everyone is up and about and you have to be playing well in every game.”

Pearse will team up with Flapper and BPL18 All Star team member Kylie Whitehead under coach Kelvin Kerkow.

eXtreme fell just short in the last edition of the tournament, going down in the grand final. It’s the second time the side has made a grand final.

Bullows said they are thrilled that Pearse was available for the event, as well as wishing Forsyth a speedy recovery.

“We were very fortunate to get Ray and pick up a player of his quality, obviously after winning the Australian Indoors we know he’s very good on carpet,” he said.

“We look forward to having him on board and utilising his experience.

“Everyone at the eXtreme and Club Sunbury hopes that Ali makes a quick recovery and that he’ll be sitting at home and encouraging the team. I look forward to catching up with him soon.”

The BPL starts on February 19.