Buckinghamshire Junior Academy
2020 Finals Day
Despite the devastation caused to our sport this year by the Coronavirus Epidemic, two centres in the north of the County have been able to recruit and train young bowlers since June. This builds upon the work over several years to coach to a very high level, boys and girls under 18 years of age, some as young as eight. Thus we have had some twenty five Junior Academy bowlers under coaching at Newport Pagnell and Olney Bowls Club, protected by the safety measures in place at both clubs.
In more normal times this would be true for the central portion of the County also, with the focus being on Aylesbury Town, led by Henry Beach. Unfortunately this was not possible this year, but plans are in place to get back on track next season.
In the case of the two northern clubs, the County Junior Academy managers would like to pay tribute to the coaches who have done such great work, against the odds, in developing their members.
Olney have been led and supported by Rowland Cleverley and David Waddell, while Newport Pagnell have built a coaching team led by Howard Jones and Richard Potton. Theirs is a very real commitment both to their young bowlers, and the sport of Bowls.
Given the unique conditions prevailing this season due to Coronavirus, and following the cancellation of the planned events for the County Junior Academy at Aylesbury BC, it was decided to still hold the Championships for the significant number of bowlers in the north of the County.
Normally the Championships would be held on a single day in September. To reduce any health risks this year, in conjunction with Newport and Olney, the preliminary rounds were held locally at the two clubs. Finalists for the Under 18 and Under 14 competitions then played off on Sunday the 20th September at Newport Pagnell. The event was held under strict Coronavirus health rules, and confined to a limit of thirty people in total.
In glorious sunshine, the young bowlers demonstrated a really high standard of bowling, and a great deal of maturity. The winners of each section were pushed hard by their fellow competitors, in a friendly and sporting manner. There was general agreement by parents and officials that this year’s competition was a success both in terms of the additional challenge offered to our young bowlers, but also their wider development.
The 2020 Winners attained high standard of bowling and were:
WINNER: Ryan Smith of Bletchley Saint Martin’s BC
Runner Up: Thomas Phillips of Olney BC
WINNER: Abbie Elliott of Newport Pagnell BC
Runner Up: Ewan Thick of Newport Pagnell BC
The Junior Academy managers wish to place on record their thanks to the Umpire Ray Keen, who was kept busy on the day, and the Newport Pagnell BC for hosting the event under such difficult conditions.
While we appear nationally to be moving in to a second phase of Coronavirus this September, plans for a return to a full and expanded programme for the Junior Academy are in place for next year. All enquiries can be addressed to the Academy Managers, details below.
Terri Keen: 01494 771983
John Lonergan: 01908 507676