THE NSSC Junior Tournament held at Narooma Bowling Club was a huge success with many of the top NSW State junior bowlers included in the entries.
There were 27 bowlers and the onlookers were in awe of the standard of play as these young bowlers took the sport to a new level.
No shot seemed safe as resting touchers were picked off with apparent ease, clusters of shot bowls despatched easily with great drives or on shots plus the continual onslaught of wonderful draw bowls.
It was hard to believe that all the bowlers were under 18 with the youngest being a gifted 11-year-old from Dubbo.
Each bowler played four, one and a half hour, matches on both Saturday and Sunday with the standings from those matches determining positions for the knock out matches on Monday.
The top 16 bowlers played for the Junior Cup with the next 11 bowlers playing in the Junior Plate event. There were many epic battles over the first two days with most matches completing 24 to 26 ends in the one and half hours allotted time.
The competition was fierce and a joy to watch as the contestants displayed their skills and in particular their good sportsmanship as all good shots were acknowledged by opponents, often with high fives. What a great advertisement for junior bowls.
On Monday the knock out part of the competition started and there were many close matches in progress but in the main the favoured players were successful in the first rounds.
Familiar names in the NSW and City Country teams were prominent with wins to Jono Davis from Dubbo, Justin McGarrity from Tathra, Chase McKiernan from St John's Park, Ellen Ryan from Goulburn Railway, Jamie Lee Worsnop from St John's Park, Dylan Skinner from Fig Tree Club, Jake Chapman from Tarren Point and Anthony McKenna from Tathra.
After a morning of top bowls we reached the semi-finals and in the Junior Cup with the first match resulting in Jono Davis, displaying skills far beyond those one would expect from such a young and personable bowler, producing the magic shot at the right time to win through to the final with a hard fought 23 to 19 win over another wonderful player in Ellen Ryan.
On the next rink Anthony McKenna and Jamie Lee Worsnop were doing battle in another exciting match and in a great exhibition from both bowlers Anthony picked up some important shots for a 20 to 14 win.
In the Plate the first semi-finalists were Danyan Christie from Fairy Meadow, who was just starting to hit top form to come up with a 31 to 17 win over Lauren Shaw from Merrylands.
In the other semi-final Brooke Johnston, from Warilla, played Andrew Caldow from Goulburn Railway and she played some great bowls to take the match 20 to 13.
In the final Danyan and Brooke traded ends early and after 12 ends Danyan led 10 to nine as both bowlers tried to get the upper hand. Danyan continued on from his great form in the morning and would not leave the jack alone and this accuracy started to take its toll on Brooke who continued to try valiantly but in the end Daniel drew away for a well-deserved 35 to 13 win.
The final of the Junior Cup between Jono Davis and Anthony McKenna was a match worth waiting for with the skills of each bowler showing out from the first end. The jack was being knocked around with gay abandon in the early cut and thrust and Anthony got away to a handy 13 to five lead after 10 ends.
Jono, as he had done all through the tournament, remained composed and continued to make great shots and the two of them traded ends so that after 17 ends Anthony still led with an 18 to 12 margin. Time was starting to be a factor in this absorbing contest that had the crowd clapping nearly every shot and it was then that Jono made his run and with some unbelievable shots he drew level at 18 all after 20 ends.
The rest of the match was just as enthralling as Jono and Anthony traded shots with nearly every bowl but on each of the last three ends Jono was able to take one shot and the match ended to thunderous applause with Jono being declared the winner 21 to 18.
Words can't do justice to a thrilling match like this, you really had to be there!
It is the first time the NSSC Junior Tournament has been held and it proved such a success that Graham Reeve, the president of the NSSC Group assured the crowd that it will return to Narooma next year.
A tournament like this cannot be a success without sponsorship and it is with great appreciation that we acknowledge the support we have had from the following businesses of Narooma: Narooma Sporting and Services Group, Ray and Jan Gale at Apollo Units, Ken Lee Concreting, Narooma IGA, Narooma Mitre 10, The Narooma Newsagency, the Dalmeny Deviates, the Narooma Meat Centre, the Narooma Chemist, Narooma Surf N Skate, Matildas Service Station, Narooma Ice Creamery, Rapley's Midtown Quality Meats, the Narooma Bakery and the Narooma Men’s and Women’s Bowling Clubs.