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Jul 18

Club targets juniors

Gerringong Bowling Club’s Ian Gilbert and Peter Head, who are spearheading the club’s new junior scholarship program. Picture: GEORGIA MATTSTHE Gerringong Bowling and Recreation Club is hoping to bring through the next generation of lawn bowlers after the launch of five scholarships to help junior bowlers develop their skills.
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Launched last week, the scholarships will be open to eight to 18-year-old players and will provide them with assistance for things such as coaching, mentoring and uniforms.

The scholarships are an initiative of the club’s bowls development committee, which hopes the scholarships will help to address the shortage of junior bowlers at the club.

“The board of the club looked at how we were running the men’s and ladies’ bowls and decided the bowls development committee would be a good way to bring them together and simplify them,” committee president Ian Gilbert said.

“The committee formed a strategic business plan and one of the targets they set was to increase the people bowling by 10 per cent and we thought that junior bowls would be a good way to do that.

“We don’t really have any juniors at the moment and we’d like to see that change, but also by getting juniors involved it’s great avenue to link other people like their families and friends to the club,” Gilbert said.

The club has established five scholarships which will be provide each recipient with assistance for three years.

The scholarships haven been named in honour of long time club members and bowlers: Keith and Lily Darby, John and Heather Daly, Merv and Jan Lillye, Barbara Murphy and Barry and Elaine Smithers.

The recipients will be chosen after undergoing a selection process run by the bowls development committee.

“We’re not just after the best bowlers, we want people who are interested in the sport and will stick with it,” Gilbert said.

“Ideally a young person would come along and we’d let them use some of the club’s bowls and if they show some interest and can stick with it for something like three months then we’d sit down with them and their parents and see if they’d like to be involved and enter into a formal agreement.

“The scholarships will have some cash incentives, but they’ll also provide the young people with professional coaching and development with the help of organisations like Bowls Australia, South Coast District Bowling and Warilla Bowls.”

Gerringong Bowling and Recreation Club secretary manager Peter Head, who has been a driving force behind the scholarships, hoped they would continue the strong tradition of bowls at the club.

“We’ve had a lot of champion bowlers come through from the junior ranks in the past and we want that to continue. There’s a lot of energy at the club around these scholarships and I think it’s going to be great.”

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