A comprehensive junior development program has been credited for contributing to the significant success in recent years in pennant bowls at the Raymond Terrace Bowling Club.
The Jets junior academy was formed in order to introduce a new breed of youth to the sport of bowls, once the domain of more senior men and women.
"We would have one of the younger squads in the Newcastle district, and that's a result of the academy and our ability to attract young bowlers," Jets club coach Matthew Baus said.
"We have around 21 junior members and a growing number of female players. We are proud of the talent coming through the academy, such as 19-year-old Kate Matthews who is a member of the state open and Australian development squads."
Competing at the Newcastle district zone championships, the Terrace club proved why it is one of the dominance forces by winning both the No. 1 and No. 3 pennant titles last weekend.
It was the No. 1 team's sixth title in succession and qualifies them for the state championships to be played in Forster from July 25-28. The Jets have drawn a strong group in Soldiers Point, Cabramatta and Wiseman's Park.
The squad of 13 defeated Valentine 60-55, followed by Windale 61-51 and finally Soldiers Point 53-51 to raise the flag and advance to the state titles. "In recent years we have not performed as well as would have liked at state level, but we are quietly confident we can do better this year," said Baus.
"We are in a tough group, with Cabramatta fielding a number of national representatives, but we have beaten Soldiers Point and Wiseman's Park are an unknown quality. I guess we will need to be at our best on the day."
The Jets No 3s remained undefeated in their round robin zone tournament, cruising to victories over Beresfield, Adamstown and hosts Swansea Workers. they will travel to South Tamworth for their state championship carnival in July.
Baus, a member of the national squad, said it was important that juniors were provided a pathway into the open ranks.
"We welcome juniors of all levels to the program and we offer scholarships to those kids who show promise and a commitment to succeed," Baus said.
"I enjoy the fact that I can pass on my knowledge and experiences to a new breed of bowlers and ensure that Raymond Terrace retains its high standing in the game."
The academy is open to anyone under 18 years of age and includes free coaching, free bowls membership, free Jets academy uniform, free use of bowls and a great way to meet new friends.
Interested bowlers can contact the Raymond Terrace Bowls office on 4983 1647.