Campaspe Valley Bowls Division launched its development squad on Monday.By Geordie Cowan
The launch of the Campaspe Valley Bowls Division development squad heralds much more than a group of future young lawn bowlers — committee members see it as vital for the long-term health of the sport.
‘‘These are our future,’’ CVBD chairman Charlie Pavone said of the array of enthusiastic young players at City of Echuca Bowls Club on Monday.
‘‘If we don’t get people playing bowls, we’re in big trouble.
‘‘There’s been such a decline in membership.’’
Pavone said he was not expecting all the youngsters to keep bowling, but was comforted by them having the knowledge of how to play so they could always come back to it.
‘‘So we’re just hoping a lot of them are pretty keen,’’ he said.
The official launch of the squad is a big boost for the association following the work done to promote the squad by City of Echuca president John Blair and Rich River president Barry Brown.
Responsibility for the squad was recently taken over by the CVDB after a delegates meeting, when a motion was put forward and ‘‘was supported by everybody bar one club’’.
Pavone was pleased to see the presidents of Rochester, Tongala, City of Echuca, Rich River, Elmore and Ky Valley View attend the evening, while representatives from Deni RSL, Deniliquin, Mathoura and Moama were also at the greens.
A healthy spread of players attended the trial, with some from Deniliquin, Deni RSL and Mathoura joining those closer to Echuca.
The launch was also supported by the presence of Bowls Victoria under 18 squad chairman Doug Kneebone and coach and liaison officer Geoff Taylor.
Bowls Australia community development officer Garry Dillon and various members of the CVBD hierarchy also attended.
‘‘It has been tremendous the support we have received from clubs in the association,’’ Pavone said.
‘‘And it’s just great to see the support that Bowls Victoria have given junior development.
‘‘Because they know that’s where our future is.’’
The under 18 squad — which became the first new junior squad to be launched in Victoria since 2005 — is yet to be named and have an official uniform, but it will play its first game against the Bendigo Dragons on February 12 in two-bowl triples at a venue to be determined in Campaspe.
The group will be guided by Campaspe Valley’s coaching panel, as well as many helpers from Echuca.
Bowls Victoria under 18 chairman Kneebone said the launch was a fantastic result for the association.
‘‘To see a turn-up like this is just reward for their (the association’s) efforts,’’ he said.
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