Kerkow's grand band of brothers

By GREG KELLY

ONE small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. This Thursday will be the 38th anniversary of the man's landing on the moon but the occasion will be overshadowed by a local bowls event of "huge" proportions.

Someone who will remember the date of July 19 will be South Tweed Sports' gold medal winner Kelvin Kerkow whose team of brothers have won through to the final of the Gold Coast Winter Carnival Open Fours.

Kerkow, who was "rapt and over the moon" when his "kids team" won through to the final, was born in 1969 38 years ago - the same year that Armstrong walked on the moon.

He will skip his junior team of Braiden, Josh & Joel Leese (all brothers and whose combined ages only tally 37) in an historic fours finals match tonight at Tweed Heads Bowls Club indoor complex.

"One small step for Kerkow, a giant leap for junior bowlers" is how I described this remarkable effort by such a young team and an Australian legend. Junior bowls has in the past never been a top priority for bowls administrators.

Lawn bowls would have to be the only core sport in the Commonwealth games not to have a structured junior support base, but in recent years the tide has turned slowly and local Gold Coast clubs have fostered a small but very competitive junior base from which many champion bowlers will come to the fore.

Champions Kerkow and Steve Glasson are products of a junior program 20 years ago and now Australians all over reap the rewards from the fruits and labour of the junior coordinators back in the late 1980s.

The inaugural Gold Coast Tweed Junior Challenge on Saturday mornings has proved to be such a success that many more clubs will enter junior teams next year.

Hopefully many parents will bring their kids along to watch the finals tonight at THBC and hopefully many more juniors will aspire to reach the heights of great champions such as Kerkow and Glasson.

It is only a small step but in future years may prove to be a giant leap for junior bowls on the Gold Coast.

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THE Junior Golden Nugget field has just been released and what a great field of young up and coming players contesting this great event.

Thirteen-year-old Aaron Teys has always shown plenty of promise and in this past weekend has taken out the Major Singles Championship at Evans Head in Northern NSW. A regular pennant player, Aaron will come up against some mighty good juniors from the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. The Junior Gold Nugget is played on Sunday, August 5 at Tweed Heads Indoor. Another 13-year-old who is making inroads into the world of bowl is young South Australian Breeanna Dickson who is one of the 20 lady qualifiers to play in the upcoming 2007 Australian Indoor Championships at the Tweed Heads Bowls Club on August 20 23.

Her inclusion into such a prestigious tournament shows juts how far the sport has come in finding appeal among teenagers.

Perhaps in the not too distant future, we may actually see the juniors playing on the ABC TV in a structured Australia Junior Championship with qualifying in all States as per the upcoming Mens and Ladies Australian Indoor Championship.

If we are fair dinkum in trying to increase membership and promote the sport to young juniors (and their parents) then scrap the Grand Prix series for the national squad and promote State and Australian Junior Championships on ABC TV.

There are plenty of options and good juniors administrators in the sport that contribute so much for the sport but so much more needs to be done to foster the young kids into our sport.

Send me your comments to the Daily News.

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THE 58th Gold Coast Winter Carnival winds up this weekend with the Singles Finals at Mermaid Beach. Gary Lawson, Graham Shillington, Blake Signal and Greg Shilling with contest the Open Final and Ray Pickard, Ray Glasser, Allen Cullen and Bruce Wallace will play off for the Over 60s final.

I predict the two Ray's will meet in the Over 60's Final and I will have two bob on the two "Shillings..." meeting in the Open Final

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Lawn Bowls on the Internet - www.thbc.com.au



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