Bowlers must play in nationals
THE country’s top bowlers will have little option but to participate in the annual nationals if they want to be considered for possible national selection.
That’s the clear message being driven home by Bowls SA, and the right one, as their showpiece tournament has lost its way in recent years.
Entry numbers have bordered on pathetic in recent years for a number of reasons… but with vast increases in prize money for the various disciplines (fours R40 000); expect a dramatic rise in entries.
While lack of interest in past years holds water, leading players, who cannot attend in future, better have valid cause if they are to sway the mindset of the national selectors who are on a mission to select players for squad camps who avail themselves.
Cries from certain players who feel they are being overlooked for reasons other than their performances should be taken with a pinch of salt, for it is these players who do not avail themselves to the relevant criteria requirements.
And bury the notion that provincialism is rife in selection, national team head coach Theuns Fraser has give assurances that SA teams will be picked on merit.
While eyebrows at this statement will be raised by some in Western Province (some merit here), Fraser appears to be a man of his word.
As a former Protea, he knows a top performer when he sees one. Fraser is a man of discipline, national colours in judo are testimony to that.
He thrives on discipline and sees it as a key ingredient when considering who to pick.
Since taking up the dual role of head selectors, and ably supported by his panel, the national teams’ performances in the last couple of years have been of the highest order; three gold medals at the recent Common- wealth Games offering a glimpse of what’s to come in the future.
Bowls SA are also driving transformation in the sport in a big way.
And Fraser foresees a time in the near future when SA teams will be truly representative of the people.
As many as 100 players of colour have already been identified for 2011 and will undergo rigorous training in order to progress them into the various training squads, where seven are already in the system.
WP have been at the forefront of bowls development, the courageous work of Aloma Smith recognised by the gover ning body who have selected her to the national development standing committee.
Her tireless efforts in taking the game to the people of the Strand and surrounds have paid huge dividends; the performances of the WP youth sides unmatched at national level.
But a lot more needs to be done to promote the game. The overwhelming colour in bowls is white folk… with just a sprinkling of colour.