Northern Star

Shocking decision by coach

NOT since the infamous decision to omit then world champion Steve Glasson from the Australian team to contest the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games team has the sport of lawn bowls been so rocked.

The shock resignation of national coach Cameron Curtis and his chief lieutenant Ian Schuback earlier this week stunned observers.

Curtis said on the Bowls Australia (BA) website that there was “a need for a change”.

Curtis was the inaugural national coach and filled the role for five years; guiding the Australia team to victory at Commonwealth Games level, in Trans-Tasman series and in many Test series, including the 2007 World Team event staged at Tweed Heads Bowls Club.

With the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India just 12 months away, Curtis and Schuback's resignations could not have come at a more inopportune time with training sessions for national squad members currently being scheduled

The passion that both Curtis and Schuback held for their respective positions in the national bowls scene was known Australia wide and many bowlers will be left wondering why at this time - so soon after the Asia Pacific Games in Malaysia and with a big year ahead - they felt a “need for a change”?

We may never know the real reason behind the sudden resignations but it is, as BA so aptly put it in their media release headline: “The dawning of a new era.”

I wonder if they knew beforehand that Glasson had been endorsed as an independent director of BA and on Monday was elected to the Board of Bowls Australia?

Now that is what I call “The dawning of a new era”.

In the Queensland versus NSW State Test Series held at Tweed Heads Indoor, the selectors in their wisdom chose under-25 squad members in the open side in preference to playing them in the under-25s side.

There is no doubt in my mind that these youngsters warrant their selection but when both the under-25s and the open state sides are playing at the same venue at the same time then surely, if players are under-25, they should be selected in their own age group.

By playing in the open side they deprived other well-credential bowlers who have great resumes from representing their state.

NSW had one rink of bowlers all aged under-25 playing in the open competition while at the same time, young players who were selected in the under-25s were being well beaten by Queensland.

Both states selected players in the open side that were qualified and young enough to play in the under-25s - so even though Queensland won the three-match series in the under- 25s, both sides were under-strength due to the better players playing at the same time in the open division.

What does this achieve? Nothing! Except deprive older bowlers from playing in the open state side.

Now the players have been selected for the Trans-Tasman series with under-18s and under-25s playing at the same time - young 15-year-old whiz Dylan Fisher has been selected in the under- 25s side despite been eligible for the under-18 competition - so who was the young under-25 player that missed out on selection?

I have no doubt that Fisher is good enough to play in any company but my point is: when sides are playing simultaneously the bowlers should be selected in their age groups.

If it so happens that the under-18s lose to NZ then one has to asked the question why?

Because our best under-18 bowler was not selected in the appropriate team?

He was available, but not selected, playing elsewhere … on the next green.

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