NATIONAL YOUTH CHALLENGE : COACH & MANAGER Q&A

By Matt Stevens
January 28, 2020

The 18th running of the National Youth Team Challenge concluded with Singapore and New South Wales the major team winners at Wyncity Bowl & Entertainment, Point Cook.

After three days, the FIQ format event saw Singapore Sports School (SSS) claim their first combined title, their fourth female title and New South Wales their sixth male division title.

Tenpin Bowling Australia asked the head coach of NSW and manager of SSS a few questions following their success in the 2020 challenge.

NSW HEAD COACH – GEOFF BOWNESS

Geoff Bowness – NSW and Australian Youth Head Coach

TBA: You have now been the NSW Youth head coach for eight youth challenges. What keeps bringing you back?

GB: When I first started I wasn’t sure how long I would go, but as you see the smiles, excitement and comments by our very talented individuals who come together to form a team, it really is wonderful to be a part of and to watch.

The National Youth Team Challenge is arguable one of the best events hosted in Australia for any number of reasons. The fostering of “team,” friendships and competitiveness to be the best person you can be in a format of international standards can never be over looked.

TBA: What do you see your role being a head coach of youth athletes?

GB: Each year 8 athletes come together in search of “their” dream. It’s important that coaches, managers and supporters understand that our role is to facilitate “the dream” as best as we can. The result can be success on a small scale or large. As long as we promote the concept or idea that no person is special and everyone plays a crucial part in the team and the result, then success can happen.

TBA: I know your team has gone through some challenges leading up to this year’s event with the late withdrawal of Kiara Clark due to an unfortunate car accident. How did you manage this situation for the team?

GB: We had a couple of challenges, we lost a men’s player very close to Christmas. I made the call to Jamie Robinson from the Draft list. I looked through his credentials and he seemed to be the right person. Jamie was very excited to join our team. When we look at the end result across the entire event he certainly was a great choice. A great team player.

Then on New Year’s Day tragedy struck the Clark family from Grafton. I was in direct contact with family member – Shanita. It was obvious from the outset that assistant coach Ashley would be not participating. I spoke with Kiara and her pain and injury would exclude her also. She was bitterly disappointed. Rest and recovery for both was paramount. I made a second call. This time to Jacinta Caddy from the Draft List, she too was excited to be involved. Jacinta is another bowler who made the trip at very late notice and just fell into place with the team and our team philosophies.

The enthusiasm by both young bowlers to put aside their plans and step up for NSW was amazing. At no stage did we use the past events leading to the player inclusion in the team. I learned a long time ago that sometimes using the wrong motivation focus can have poor results. It’s obvious that the events of December and January would be back of mind for everyone. No point in dragging it to front of mind. We also needed an assistant manager in camp and Fiona Johnston was kind enough to step up and assist the Manager Roselee Oakley throughout the camp. I am indebted to all four. Without just one, I doubt our success would have been realised. Thank you Jamie, Jacinta, Fiona and Roselee. Thank you team NSW, what a result.

2020 NSW Youth Team

TBA: Singapore Sports School set the bar pretty high this week. Tell us a bit about the Singapore Sports School team you witnessed at Youth this year.

GB: Singapore Sports School are a formidable opponent every year. A totally different lifestyle both in education and sporting endeavours makes them really good on the lanes. Hui Wen and David brought team members who were new and seasoned. It’s always a pleasure to catch up with Singapore with their tuition in Singapore. It’s also interesting to watch and see how their game evolves and the game changes. We are lucky to have them in our competition. The NSW Team always enjoys their company and the making of new friends and catching up with old friends.

GB: I would like to thank the Girls Team of Jacinta Caddy, Emily Johnston, Emma Stephens, Emma Scott as well as the Boys Team of Jamie Robinson, Will Clark, Nixon Chan and Jordan Dinham for their amazing efforts throughout the Youth Cup and National Youth Team Challenge. To Fiona and Roselee – great job everyone. Thank you!

SINGAPORE MANAGER – DAVID TAY DAWEI

TBA: Describe the performances of your teams at the 2020 National Youth Challenge – specifically Althea Dang and Shirlene Wong – I believe they are 16 and 15 years old!? If this is correct, it is an amazing achievement for the two of them.

DTD: Both our teams did really well in the National Youth Challenge, especially the girls. Our bowlers won 2 more gold medals this year as compared to last year. Althea Dang, who turned 16 on 10 January 2020, performed exceptionally in this youth tournament to win three of the four golds clinched by our bowlers. Shirlene Wong, currently 14, broke boundaries as the youngest in our team. She stepped up and remained resilient throughout the tournament. Their teamwork and spirit helped them power through the tournament which resulted in them becoming Combined Team champions, the first time a Singapore Sports School has won the title.

TBA: As mentioned, this is the first ever combined title for Singapore Sports School at the National Youth Team Challenge. How does it feel to be crowned the overall winners?

DTD: It feels surreal that we were able to come out top for the combined title at the National Youth Team Challenge. One of our key objectives for participating in this tournament is for our student-athletes to develop competitive experience and to bond the team in this team format. At this tournament, the importance of teamwork and chemistry within the team is crucial as they compete amongst older bowlers with more experience. Therefore, we’re really excited to return with such a good set of results this year. The hospitality shown by TBA and Wyncity Bowl this past week also helped our bowlers settle into the new environment quickly and comfortably.

TBA: Your first National Youth Challenge was in 2012 and other than 2014 you have returned every year. Why do you love coming to Australia and the event so much?

DTD: We love coming to Australia for this event as it provides our bowlers with a high level of competition through going up against some of the best youth bowlers in Australia, which stretches them in their development. Furthermore, this format helps the bowlers to gain exposure of how a Championship format is like. This facilitates bonding within the team while building trust amongst the bowlers, knowing they have each other’s’ backs whenever their struggling during the competition.

Full List of Overall Winners and Awards

Female Division

Bronze – Queensland

Chloe Jones, Kylie Bailey, Ivy Dickinson and Alannah Woodfield

Coach Don Lindsay, Manager Belinda Jones

Silver – New South Wales

Emily Johnston, Emma Stephens, Jacinta Caddy, Emma Scott

Coach  Geoff Bowness,  Manager  Roselee Oakley

Gold – Singapore Sports School

Althea Dang, Shirleen Wong, Jerlyn Lam, Jade Ooi

Coach  Hew Wen Tay, Manager David Tay

Male Division

Bronze – Victoria

Lachlan McDougall, Bernie Grueso Jnr, Whys Woszczeiko, Daniel Perrella

Coach Louise Eady,  Manager  Renee Gaitanis  Gaytarnis

Silver – Singapore Sports School

George Yin, Gerald Teng, Ding Xi Lim, Jun Rui Heng

Coach  Hew Wen Tay, Manager David Tay

Gold – New South Wales

Jordan Dinham, William Clark, Nixon Chan, Jamie Robinson

Coach  Geoff Bowness,  Manager  Roselee Oakley

Combined Division

Bronze – Queensland

Female Team –   Chloe Jones, Kylie Bailey, Ivy Dickinson and Allannah Woodfield

Coach Don Lindsay, Manager Belinda Jones

Male Team – Cameron Stein, Kaleb Coyne, Jesse Ellis, Mitchell Williams

Coach  Billy Gardiner,  Manager  Belinda Jones

Silver – New South Wales

Female Team – Emily Johnston, Emma Stephens, Jacinta Caddy, Emma Scott

Coach  Geoff Bowness,  Manager  Rosalee Oakley

Male Team – Jordan Dinham, William Clark, Nixon Chan, Jamie Robinson

Coach  Geoff Bowness,  Manager  Roselee Oakley

First  SSS

Gold – Singapore Sports School

Female Team – Althea Dang, Shirleen Wong, Jerlyn Lam, Jade Ooi

Coach Hew Wen Tay, Manager David Tay

Male Team – George Yin, Gerald Teng, Ding Xi Lim, Jun Rui Heng

Coach  Hew Wen Tay, Manager David Tay

All Stars Male

Callun Borck (TAS) – 3928 pinfall

Gerard Teng (SSS) – 3886 pinfall

Cameron Stein (QLD) – 3883 pinfall

Jordan Dinham (NSW) 3722 pinfall

All Stars Female

Althea Dang (SSS) 3801 pinfall

Chloe Jones (QLD) 3645 pinfall

Shirlene Wong (SSS) 3551 pinfall

Emily Johnston (NSW) 3465 pinfall

Chairpersons Award (cannot be an All Star)

Male – Nixon Chan (NSW) won 137 points and finished 6 pins over average.

Directors Award (cannot be an All Star)

Female – Jerlyn Lam (SSS) won 138 points and finished 19 pins over average

Sportspersons Awards

Male – Callum Borck (TAS)

Female – Amy Shoesmith (ACT)

Anniversary Plaques

Kylie Bailey – 100 games

Chloe Jones – 100 Games

Louise Eady – 10 years of coaching the Youth Teams Challenge

Don Lindsay – 10 years of coaching the Youth Teams Challenge

Other Coverage

2020 Challenge Recap Here

2020 Challenge Results Here

2020 Youth Cup Recap

2020 Youth Cup Results

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