U25 Bowls Inter-District for Bloem
Southern Free State are the Defending Champions in this year’s Under 25 and Development Bowls Inter-Districts Tournament, about to take place at Bloemfontein Municipals Bowling Club from 9 to 13 July.
Runners-Up Western Province will be eyeing the tournament, which is played during the winter school holidays to enable the growing number of school-going bowlers to participate.
This tournament is viewed as Bowls’ equivalent to rugby’s famed Craven Week, as the participating teams experience bowls at district level on par with the provincial sides in rugby.
Of the 20 Bowls Districts in South Africa (the borders are very similar to those of the rugby and cricket provincial teams), 18 Districts have entered teams this year, with only Sedibeng (Previously Vaal) and Kingfisher (Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast) not having entered a side.
All the other Districts, including Western Province, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape, Free State, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, will be represented at the tournament.
Amongst the players to be seen in action are several players that have represented their Districts in the Open and B-sides, and have experienced bowls at a high level.
Here the names of Natasha Spring (Southern Free State) and Pikkie Abbott (Northern Cape) come to mind, as well-known names of young bowlers are also amongst the players who will be participating in the U25’s.
Petro van Aswegen, who won the U25 Women’s Masters earlier this year, will be playing in the Mpumalanga side, with her opponent in the finals and runner-up in the Masters, Tracey-Lee Botha, playing for Central Gauteng.
Other well known bowlers and U25 Master Bowlers that will be participating in Bloemfontein are Kim James (Natal Inland), Shelene Jordaan (Eastern Gauteng), Pikkie Abbott (Northern Cape), Hazel Muller (North West), Jacoleen Koekemoer (Northern Cape) and Carla Peyper (Northern Free State).
The majority of these bowlers are currently in the South African Silver Squad, which consists of young up-and-coming bowlers, regarded as potential Protea bowlers of the future.
At the end of the U25 tournament, an U25 invitation team will be selected by the National Selectors to play against the very strong Inter-District side of Southern Free State, to end a week of competitive bowls on a high note.
A development tournament is also being staged, simultaneously with the U/25 Inter-Districts in Bloemfontein, and is organized for scholars that have not yet become registered bowlers at any club.
Bowls South Africa subsidizes these teams as a development drive, and it is expected that many of these participants will soon appear on the scene as registered bowlers.
The development bowlers have all received coaching and have been selected by their respective Districts to play in this tournament.