Late last term Steven Houting represented the Riverina in the NSW CHS Lawn Bowls Championships in St Johns Park.
The team consisted of students aged from 12-18 years from areas such as Temora, Griffith and Coolamon. Due to the Riverina area being so widespread, the Riverina team were unable to hold any training camps prior to the competition.
However, this did not hamper the side’s start to the competition.
Up against South Coast in round 1, the Riverina side started well. They led 5-1 early on.
The game got closer towards the back end with Riverina holding a slim lead 9-7. However, the momentum had swung towards South Coast and Riverina eventually went down 9-12.
In round two Riverina faced Sydney East and a similar story unfolded with Riverina taking an early lead and the team playing some high-quality bowls. Steven was able to provide some direction to the team and show his strong skill level. Sydney East managed to show their experience and understanding of each other’s game due to living in close proximity of each other. Riverina again went down 9-12 at the end of the game. With this team eventually finishing 2nd, it was a good effort by Riverina.
Round 3 saw Riverina come up against a strong Hunter side. This was when the Riverina players kicked into gear and showed their true potential. They showed a variety of high-class shots and played them all when needed. The Hunter team had no answers to the Riverina team’s skill and execution. The Riverina team ran away with this match 16-4.
Riverina then came up against the strong Southwest team in round 4. The team consisted of players from the Tamworth area and were a very well drilled side. Riverina again showed potential starting strong with a 6-3 lead.
However, the Southwest team played some strong conversion shots from the middle of the game to the end. Riverina continued with their efforts and played some good shots, however the class of the Southwest team shone through in the end with Riverina narrowly going down 8-10.
In the final match before the play offs Riverina came up against Sydney Southwest who were yet to win a game. Riverina showed their superiority in this game from the outset. This was especially evident with Steven’s game where he played his most consistent match and was a strong contributor to the teams’ performance. Riverina’s class took the game away from Sydney early on and continued to show throughout the entire match. The final score saw Riverina run out 16-4 winners, which allowed them to finish 4th in their section.
This then meant Riverina were to play off for fifth-eighth position. In the first play offs game Riverina played against the Hunter side once again. They again showed their strength, however Riverina were up to the task and put the fight back to the Hunter side. The Riverina team, including Steven, continued their strong performance during this game and finished up defeating Hunter in a tight tussle 20-17.
Unfortunately for the Riverina side, this was all Riverina had left in the tank and they were unable to continue their strong form in their final play off game. They went down to 36-11 to the South Coast side. This meant that Riverina finished sixth out of 10 sides at the NSW State championships.
Steven Houting also competed in a driving challenge at the championships. Each region conducted a drive off and had two members go through to the final playoffs. Steven was one of these, along with another Riverina player from Coolamon. In the final drive offs against the other regions, Steven was one of the first successful and went to the next stage, as did the other Riverina player. They both continued to perform incredibly well with the Coolamon student claiming gold and Steven claiming a bronze medal for 3rd place.
This was an amazing achievement for Steven and being one of the youngest players at the championships, he has many years to come to aim for more success and a gold medal in the future.