Two of New Zealand’s rising stars Seamus Curtin and Natasha Russell have been selected to represent New Zealand at the 2019 World Junior Under-25 Championships in England later this year.
In a competition that replaces the former World Youth Championships, both Curtin and Russell will mix it among some of the world’s top talent, taking to the indoor rinks at West Denton Indoor Bowls Club in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in northeast England.
Curtin, who has previously represented the Blackjacks and is a member of the national High Performance Squad, has gone from strength to strength – consistently delivering on the big stage and showing skill and composure beyond his years, at just 19.
Likewise, Russell, who is based in Australia at the Merrylands BC, has recently impressed at the Australian Indoor National Championships, performing with distinction on the carpeted rinks and narrowly bowing out to defending champion and Australian representative Bec Van Asch in the round of 32.
The event, which will be contested in the 7-end sets format, will see Curtin and Russell compete in both the Men’s and Women’s Singles, before combining to tackle the Mixed Pairs discipline.
Reflecting on his selection, Curtin said he was “counting down the days” and was “stoked” for the opportunity to once again compete at world level.
“Can’t wait, it will definitely be a different experience as I haven’t played over there before. I’m lucky to have the Naenae carpets here close to me to practice on, which will certainly help in the preparation for the event . . . but you’ve still got to play the bowls no matter what you play on,” Curtin said.
“Getting that first set is always the goal for me and building on it from there.”
Curtin recalls first meeting his teammate some five years ago, who at the time was competing for her state in Victoria. Realising her Kiwi allegiance, Curtin and a few others spent time convincing her to return home and play for New Zealand.
Clearly, it’s advice Russell took on board – previously representing New Zealand at development level and securing silverware at age group level this side of the Tasman.
“It’s going to be cool to see her playing for her home country and hopefully we can beat them all,” Curtin said.
For Curtin, who has recently returned to his home club at Stokes Valley, quick transition and preparation will be key to success come December – with Curtin not long leaving the heavier greens of Hong Kong to compete in the International Classic with fellow Wellingtonian Ray Martin in late November.
“The preparation will be key . . . coming off the nine-10 second greens and getting on to some quicker stuff, getting that delivery right and ready for the different environment and conditions over there – that’s what I’ll be focused on.
“It’s going to be a busy season, but I can’t wait to get stuck in.”
The 2019 World Junior U-25 Championships will commence on December 3 and conclude on December 6.
The 2019 World Junior U-25 Championships New Zealand representatives;
Seamus Curtin (Stokes Valley, New Zealand)
Natasha Russell (Merrylands BC, Australia)
Curtin & Russell will combine to compete in the Mixed Pairs.