Armidale bowler takes national title

The winning NSW junior bowls team: Armidale's Briana Graham was part of the winning team. Photo: Bowls Australia.

The winning NSW junior bowls team: Armidale's Briana Graham was part of the winning team. Photo: Bowls Australia.

BRIANA Graham has been crowned a national champion after NSW dominated the Australian junior lawn bowls championships in Adelaide last month. 

Armidale's Briana Graham.

Armidale's Briana Graham.

The Blues lead the way from the first day, winning three of the first four matches before they claimed another 14 from 16 on the second day. 

With NSW on top of the leader board, a victory on the third day’s play would lock up the overall title for the Blues. 

Graham and her fours teammates were first up in their discipline’s gold medal match against Queensland.

They started well and held their lead to win the fours gold medal and NSW were awarded the overall champion state.

"We went into the first game of the grand finals, knowing if we won that, we would win overall,” Graham said.

"We got to a really good lead into the fours and our singles were up as well. 

"Our singles ended up losing but our fours ended up winning by a really big margin against Queensland and it was nice payback because they beat us in our NSW-Queensland test in May.

"It was nice to not only beat them but the big margin we won by.” 

Graham said the bowls environment is very supportive with members of the state team spending time on the sidelines cheering on their teammates. 

"Not only playing but when you finish games and you are sitting there watching your team play,” she said.

"The amount of support you get is awesome, it is so loud.” 

With most of the team coming from far and wide across the state, getting together for training is difficult. 

The state association helped the team train and sharpen their skills with a series of drills which had to be submitted via distance. 

"We do drills but being in Armidale I don't really get to train with my other teammates so I have to do drills by myself,” she said.

"We all have different drills depending on our positions. 

"We have to do a certain amount and send it in at the end of every month as well as a record of what we have done in that month.” 

She took up the sport three years ago after watching her brother and father play and now spends time at Ex-Services competing on weekends. 

We went into the first game of the grand finals knowing that if we won that, we would win overall - Briana Graham

"I started because my dad and brother play and I got bored of watching so I decided to start playing and then through the junior local stuff I got further into it and selected for state, which was awesome,” she said. 

Graham finishes up in the junior ranks after the City verse Country championships in November. 

Meanwhile this Saturday (October 22) will see the annual North verse South tournament at West Tamworth Bowls and Sporting Club.

The always fiercely contested local origin will see a team of four from each pennants grade from each club in the 2016 season go head to head.

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