SCHOLARSHIP holders in the South East Regional Academy of Sport (SERAS) Lawn Bowls Program are preparing for the season with a training camp at the Queanbeyan Bowling Club this week.
This camp will build on the experienced gained by the majority of squad members who competed in New Zealand during December.
Eleven members of the 2012 program, including local bowlers Ellen Ryan, Jodie Marshall, Tracey Swift and Andrew Caldow, travelled to Christchurch to compete in a test series under the guidance of coach James Reynolds, from the Tathra Bowing Club.
On day one, the SERAS squad joined the Canterbury outfit in completing a drills session which also allowed the athletes to get to know each other as well as getting used to the conditions. At the completion of the session a driving competition was organised with Jay Breust of SERAS winning.
Day two saw the beginning of the four tests with each squad fielding 11 players broken down into one fours, one triples, one pairs and two singles team.
In the first two tests the team was: Anthony McKenna (Bermagui) and Kristen Steele (ACT); pairs - Jodie Marshall and Ellen Ryan; triples - Michael McQueen (ACT), Brad Griffiths (Eden) and Jay Breust (Narooma); and fours - Jess Hogan (ACT), Andrew Caldow, Tracey Swift (Goulburn) and Jaime Locke (ACT).
In the first test SERAS lost 3-2 overall with a win in the singles by Anthony McKenna and the pairs of Jodie Marshall and Ellen Ryan.
In the second test SERAS again lost 3-2 but in a much tighter affair with the big improver being Kristen Steele, who struggled in the conditions in her first match but played excellently in her second match. The test came down to the triples match where SERAS held game until the last bowl from the Canterbury skip, snatching victory.
In the third test, a few minor changes were made, and at the end Canterbury led 8 wins to 6. With the final test scheduled for the following day, it was clear a resurgent SERAS could still snatch victory from their Canterbury counterparts.
The final test was decided on the very last bowl of an amazing last match between Ellen Ryan and the NZ schoolboy champion Cameron Bailey. Unfortunately, Ellen just missed out with Canterbury defeating SERAS overall 10-9.
This was a fantastic result in conditions unlike what the SERAS athletes are accustomed to.