Next time you drive from Sydney to Brisbane, don’t take the inland highway – take the coast road. The road winds its way in and out of beautiful bays and beaches …. Port Macquarie, South West Rocks, Nambucca Heads, Yamba, Ballina, to name a few. As well as the small settlement of Nelson Bay, 60 kilometres north of Newcastle.
That’s where New Zealand Development Players Seamus Curtin and Bradley Down found themselves this last week, all 26ºC of it, competing in the 2018 Bluewater Men’s Pairs at the Nelson Bay Bowling Club.
After 8 games of 15 ends over two days, Curtin and Down finished 8th out of a field of 37 Pairs, scoring 6 wins over the 8 games, behind tournament winner Lee Such and Brian Bateman (8 wins); runners-up Blake Signal and Jordan King (7½ wins) and third-placed Hayden Bojkowski and Shawn Richards (6½ wins). And because of the depth of the prize money in this $AU10,000 tournament, Curtin and Down walked away with $AU300 – enough to pay for more than a few feeds of parmigiana and prawns at the magnificent Tails Restaurant in the Nelson Bays Recreation Clubrooms.
Providing opportunities like the Bluewater is just part of Bowls New Zealand’s strategy to get our developing players challenging competition.
“The Bluewater is a Tier 4 event on the Bowls Australia calendar,” explains High Performance and Coach Development Manager, Kaushik Patel. “So it attracts a high-quality field. It enabled Seamus and Brad to gain competitive game experience in what is effectively New Zealand’s off-season.”
Both players were both hosted by current National Assistant Coach Richard Girvan who is the General Manager of the Nelson Bays Club.
“Richard was coaching Seamus and Brad, at the same time as he was playing against them in the tournament!” laughs Patel.
Wellington Bowlers will be wondering just how much more experience and coaching Curtin and Down need. They are already cleaning up at events around the Capital, and for that matter around New Zealand. “Like any other sport at the elite level, we want to give our young players the best chance to successfully represent New Zealand in the international arena,” says Patel.