Post Januarys Heartland Bank National Open Championships the Bowls New Zealand selectors, headed by Sharon Sims, have announced their development squad for 2017 from which a 10-person team will be selected for Junes Trans-Tasman series against Australia on the Gold Coast.
The womens team includes a number of players with both international experience and over the last 12 months excellent results in key domestic events.
Waikatos Ashleigh Jeffcoat is the current Youth Commonwealth Singles Champion and part of Januarys champion Heartland Bank National Open Championship winning pairs combination.
She is joined in the squad, by amongst others, Canterburys Cait Bassett who was runner up to Jeffcoat in the National Under 21 Championships and Aucklands Paris Baker who is the reigning National Under 18 Champion. Also included is Sarah Scott from Dunedin who recently represented New Zealand at the Hong Kong Classic.
The mens side of the team includes 16-year-old Seamus Curtin (Wellington) the singles silver medalist at the 2015 Youth Commonwealth Games and current under 18 National Champion. Added to which a strong showing at the National Championships in both singles and the fours must now mean he will be a front runner to make the final team in June.
Sheldon Bagrie-Howley (Southland) has twice represented New Zealand at the Junior World Cup and will therefore be a favourite to join Curtin when the final team is announced.
The remaining squad members all had top results at the recent Heartland Bank National Open Championship held in Taranaki so filling the other available spots will be a real dilemma for the selectors.
For the rest of the top level young bowlers around the country the upcoming under 18 and under 21 championships now take on added importance as good finishes there will certainly influence the selectors thoughts when naming the squad for the November internationals.
The full Bowls New Zealand Development squad is;
Women; Paris Baker - Auckland Cait Bassett - Canterbury Kimberley Hemingway - Wellington Ashleigh Jeffcoat - Waikato Natasha Russell - Wellington Sarah Scott - Dunedin Nicole Toomey - Wellington
Men; Sheldon Bagrie-Howley - Southland Seamus Curtin - Wellington Bradley Down - Wellington Richard Hocking - Canterbury Taylor Horn - Auckland Finbar McGuigan - Wellington Aiden Takarua - Auckland