Rising star steps up for QLD
AT JUST 15 years of age, Luke Jones of Evans Head is a star of lawn bowls.
Selected to represent NSW at the under-18s interstate series in Mackay, Luke was one of the youngest juniors to be selected in the play-off against Queensland.
The NSW/QLD series, which ran from July 2-4, gave 10 youngsters from city and regional areas the chance to represent their state and compete at an elite level.
The Queensland team won seven games and NSW won three games, but Luke is happy with his performance and was thrilled to compete in the series for the first time.
Luke has been playing lawn bowls since he was nine, when his grandfather recognised the schoolboy's ability for the sport.
"He has always been very keen," Luke's grandfather, Kevin Jones said.
"At first I thought he might show an interest in the game for six or so months, and then give it away. But, six years later he's still at it and going strong."
While the sport does not require natural athletic ability, a genuine commitment to the sport is needed to succeed.
"I play up to five days a week, and train two to three hours after school, then fit in homework later at night," says Luke, who is in Year 10 at Evans River K-12 school.
"When I'm not playing competitive bowls, then I'm playing the game socially."
Luke, who would like to represent Australia one day in his sport, says his success was largely due to the unwavering support of his grandparents.
Kevin has taken on the job of coach, and his grandmother, Bev, takes care of travel arrangements when the family drive the hundreds of kilometres to competitions. Next up, Luke hopes to be selected for the Australian Lawn Bowl Championships to be held in Tasmania in September.
"Luke shows talent and is playing well at the moment," Bowls Australia Community Development Officer Chris Green said.
"There is a possibility he will be picked for state squad."