CHAMPIONS League bowls came to South Tamworth on Saturday and it provided a great opportunity for some local NIAS players.
Not only did a couple of the NIAS kids get to play in the match for the NSW Institute of Sport against Merrylands, but the squad of four all received a coaching session from Australian coach and former international player Steve Glasson.
The premier league was played on Saturday with the South Tamworth club winning the rare chance to host such an event.
“Because the NSWIS team doesn’t have a home ground we take games on the road,” Glasson said.
“We were given three home games this year and we had one at East Cessnock, one at Merimbula on the south coast and this one at South Tamworth.
“It creates a lot of interest with the locals.”
Unfortunately for Glasson and the NSWIS team, it went down to league leaders Merrylands in the champions league match but it is a talented squad and sits mid-table in the eight-team competition.
“The NSWIS team is a combination of Australia and Australia A players and players in the junior and development squads,” Glasson said.
“We didn’t do that well but we’re still in the top four.”
Regardless of the result, it was a great experience for Hudson O’Sullivan and Justin Bullen from the NIAS bowls program, who were given the chance to play for NSWIS.
The format is three rinks of four and the locals were called on to lead two of those fours.
“When we take these away games to different places we’re able to include some local players as ‘marquee players’,” Glasson said.
“There’s 12 in a side and we can interchange players so that allows us to bring a couple in.
“Hudson and Justin played and they played well.”
On Sunday they joined fellow NIAS players Alyse Peters-McMillan and Scott Sharman for a quick coaching session with Glasson.
He gave the four a few tips which will, hopefully, improve their games and maybe one day they will be fulltime members of NSWIS or Australian squads as well.