Raymond Terrace bowlers win Saturday pennants in record effort

Officials were sent scurrying for the record books this week when Raymond Terrace Bowling Club took out the top three Saturday pennant flags in the district competition.

Following some intense research, it was discovered that the last time a Newcastle/Hunter club had achieved such a feat was in 1938/39 by the Hamilton bowls club, which no longer exists.

But the records for Raymond Terrace bowlers didn't end there.

Of the 40 games played by the 36 Terrace bowlers who made up the No. 1, 2 and 3 grade pennant teams, the Terrace club recorded an unprecedented 38 victories, two draws and zero losses.

In addition, the No 1 team of Shaun Richards, Tim Twining, Haydn Bojkowski and Eric Ryan, which has now won the last five top grade finals on the trot, won Best Performed Rink, while the Raymond Terrace club also secured the minor premiership for most points accumulated by an individual club.

For coaching staff Jason Stokes and Matt Baus, this remarkable feat could not have been achieved without the hard work and strong work ethic of the bowlers.

"We have a good mix of senior and junior bowlers in all three grades and they are a very tight knit group," said Stokes.

"The younger members get a lot of support from the more experienced players, who are very encouraging and there’s a real  camaraderie among the players, they want to play for each other."

Stokes, himself a former State champion, said that the junior program run by bowls coach Baus, now in its fourth year, is paying dividends.

"Outside of the No. 1 grade, this season we had at least one junior player (under 18 years of age) in each of the pennant sides," he said.

Raymond Terrace also dominated the Newcastle district junior bowls championships this year, winning every singles title contested.

Baus was equally proud of the amazing talent coming through the ranks.

"Many of our juniors come from the local schools, and the area has spread over to now include places like Salt Ash," Baus said. "Our club's youngest member is just seven years old."

Known as the Jets Academy, the junior program was formed in order to introduce a new breed of youngsters, both boys and girls, to the sport. World champion and Raymond Terrace bowler Natasha Scott is also on deck and is only too happy to help in any way.

Following the Saturday pennants clean sweep, the three senior grades will compete in the state bowls championships to be staged from August 17-19, with the No. 1s to travel to Taren Point in Sydney, No 2s at Mount Lewis also in Sydney and No 3s at West Dubbo.

And to add icing on the cake, the midweek No. 1 Pennant team beat Beresfield in the final last week to cap off an extraordinary representative season.