Bowls’ brightest stars named for 2015 Australian Commonwealth Youth Games Team

by admin on July 9, 2015

With less than 60 days remaining until the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa, the Australian Commonwealth Games Association and Bowls Australia have announced the appointment of two NSW teenagers to the 2015 Australian Team.

Dubbo’s Jono Davis, 14, and Goulburn’s Ellen Ryan, 18, are charged with the nation’s hopes in lawn bowls’ second ever attempt at the multi-sport competition.  

Each have taken another step towards their dreams of Commonwealth Games glory and have been marked as future senior Australian representatives by being selected to compete in the Youth Games later this year.

Davis has enjoyed a rapid rise through the sport’s ranks, after first earning selection for NSW’s under-18 team as a 12 year-old, he went on to claim the gold medal at the Australian Open under-18 singles in the same year, secured gold in the pairs at the Australian Under-18 Championships when he was 13, and was named the 2014 NSW Junior Bowler of the Year.

Ryan, who plays out of powerhouse bowls club Cabramatta, has also gone from strength to strength, continuing to impress selectors as she transitioned to the NSW open women’s team at the time-honoured Australian Sides Championships in Perth earlier this year, where she helped the Blue secure a record three-peat of the Marj Morris Trophy and Overall Champions Trophy as part of the best performed women’s rink, finishing with an unblemished record against all states.

She further bolstered her credentials late last month when she prevailed at the Australia’s Open’s blue-ribbon women’s singles discipline against a field of 292 players to claim the $16,000 prize cheque, a feat which earned her inclusion into the Australian Jackaroos squad for this year.

Staged from September 5 to 12 in the nation’s capital, Apia, Davis and Ryan will each have two chances to strike gold on the oceanic island, competing in the respective boys’ and girls’ singles fields before uniting for the mixed pairs competition.

The National Selection Panel have opted for two juniors at polar opposite ends of the eligible age spectrum for the competition, which will feature up to 1000 young athletes aged between 14-18.

This will be Ryan’s one and only chance to don the green and gold at a Youth Games, while Davis will be eligible to compete again at St Lucia in 2017; if bowls is among the sport’s offered.

Despite being a core sport of the Commonwealth Games since the inaugural edition in 1930, this is only the second time that bowls has been on the Youth Games program

Last included in the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2004 at Bendigo, Victoria, bowls will be one of nine sports to compete in Samoa for the fifth edition of the event that commenced in 2000.

The Youth Games are seen as a springboard to future Commonwealth Games glory, and National Coach Steve Glasson OAM said that selectors are utilising the sport’s reintroduction as a chance to blood two of the game’s brightest young prospects.

“The Commonwealth Youth Games will be an important stepping stone for the next generation of stars moving forward,” Glasson said.

“It will provide another avenue for the sport’s young players to announce themselves on the international stage, and that’s exactly what I expect Jono and Ellen to do in September.

In spite of the 11 year hiatus from the Youth Games programme, some of Australia’s past junior combatants have gone on to scale the heights of the sport’s pinnacle senior events.

Notably, current Australian Jackaroos squad member Rebecca Van Asch claimed silver in the women’s singles at the Youth Games in Bendigo, before becoming Tasmania’s first and only bowls’ world champion eight years later in 2012.

Bowls Australia would like to acknowledge the assistance and funding provided by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association to Bowls Australia for athletes in the 2015 NextGEN AUSComGames Squad program, which Davis and Ellen are an integral part of.