Illawarra Zone 16 finished a highly creditable third with their Fours team winning all five matches at the annual Under 25s Challenge at The Hills Bowling Club.
The event featured state and Australian reps with zones 5, 10, 12, 13, 15 and 16 playing round-robin Pairs, Triples and Fours on a marathon day last Sunday.
Zone 12 were the winners with a star-studded line-up which included Australian rep Ellen Ryan and NSW State bowler Billy Johnson plus outstanding Fairy Meadow junior Dawn Hayman. Illawarra’s Corey Wedlock and Toby Peters were unavailable but the squad still finished third, just a point behind runners-up Zone 10 and four points (two wins) behind Zone 12.
‘’I’m ecstatic with how we performed,’’ said Zone 16 chairman of selectors Terry Seton. ‘’We had a very young side, gave away heaps of experience to some of the other zones but we fought out every match and the Fours team were among the outstanding rinks on the day.’’
Bomaderry’s Justin Rumble came into the Fours side and played some lead and a second alongside Blake Bailey, Tyson Arneman, Danyon Christie and Jordan Taylor, with the rink winning all five games.
‘’Jordan was our standout and showed his class,’’ Seton said.
Zone 16’s biggest loss all day was by just five shots, with the Pairs team of Tom Hull and Jarrod Beckford winning two games, while the Triples side of Jesse Godfrey, Blake Gillard and Jayden Gebbie had two wins and a draw.
With only Tom Hull and Jesse Godfrey not eligible for the under 25s squad next year the future is bright for Zone 16 at a youth level.
The annual U25 Challenge is growing in popularity with six zones involved this year and Zone 2 keen to field a side in 2020.
With each zone playing five matches of Pairs, Triples and Fours this year, the addition of another zone could lead to the event being played over two days in the future.