Qlders finding their mojo at Aus U18 Champs
A lull in title wins at recent U18 championships has not dampened Qld’s hopes of success in 2014 It has been a rough few years for Queensland’s junior reps at the Australian Under-18 Championships.
Of the 10-member squad currently competing at Darwin’s Nightcliff Bowls Club, Sunshine Coast teen Connie-Leigh Rixon is the only Queenslander to have claimed an Australian Gold, in Tasmania 2012.
The boys have had an even harder slog, last lifting a trophy on their home turf at Broadbeach Bowls Club in 2010.
In fact, 2010 was the last year of Queensland’s golden age at Junior Nationals, with the Mini-Maroons sweeping the boys, girls and overall titles.
There have been plenty of medals since then, but a scarcity of Gold has caused the Queenslanders some concern.
It’s a problem the side are determined to overcome this year.
“We hope to go well this year, but anything can happen,” said Nick Gosley, a veteran of two national title campaigns, with two bronze medals in the bank.
With a mix of new and experienced players in his team, state coach Bill Cornehls is hopeful, but keeping a lid on expectations.
“I’ve been around bowls too long to say whether we have a certain chance at the gold this year, I’m a realist, I’m still hopeful to see it through but things can change,” Cornehls said.
With the weather conditions up in Darwin drastically different from what the other states are used to, all players seem to be coping well.
“It’s really muggy, but also quite windy, the temperatures have been low to mid 30’s, and even warmer on the green,” Cornehls said.
2013 winners New South Wales are playing in Section 1 this year, where they have to vie with talented line-ups from Victoria and WA for a place in medal play-offs.
Queensland has arguably the easier draw, taking on South Australia, Tasmania and ACT in Section 2, stacking the odds of reaching gold medal play-offs firmly in our favour.
Only time will tell if Queensland’s young stars can take full advantage and tie up this year’s titles.
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Picture courtesy of Bowls Australia