Junior trio named in Nelson team
Bowls Nelson’s head selector John Caldwell has taken the unprecedented step of naming three junior players in his senior men’s side for next month’s Noble Adams representative fixture in Murchison.
Caldwell is back at the selection helm after two years’ absence and along with fellow selector Maurice Dodsworth has made the bold move of introducing talented juniors Brett Allen, Dean Wood and Gareth Caldwell into the mix for their traditional seasonopening clash against Marlborough, West Coast and Buller on December 2.
The Nelson women’s team has also been named for their corresponding Higgins Shield fixture, also in Murchison, on December 3.
With the bulk of Nelson’s Blackjacks representatives unavailable for the squad’s early season commitments, the selectors have taken the opportunity to test some of the region’s promising young talent. This season’s representative programme will culminate with the Bowls NZ Intercentre Championships in Christchurch next March.
Both the Nelson men’s and women’s teams made quarterfinal exits at this year’s national intercentre competition in Wellington.
‘‘Finishing in the last eight at the intercentre is a pass mark at best and for a province the size of Nelson with such a proud tradition, you know, it’s had a lot of top players that have won New Zealand singles and championships, we should be doing better, Caldwell said.
‘‘We’re selecting teams this year with a criteria on ability and then character and their compatibility, they’re the three boxes we’ve got to tick for each person.
‘‘This year because the men are considerably weaker than previous years, we’ve brought three up and coming juniors into the side with the idea of playing with some old heads who can teach them the ropes.
‘‘And I think they’ll be the players of the future.
‘‘I think it’s probably the first time Nelson’s ever selected a senior rep side with three juniors in it, but our hand is forced.’’
The women’s team has been boosted by the inclusion of Blackjacks player Kirsten Edwards.
‘‘The women I think will be competitive. The men I think if we get the culture right, I still believe we’ll get to the last eight which is the minimum requirement. But with a lack of depth overall and experience, that will be a challenge, but I think we can - it’s a realistic goal.’’