State bowls selection for teen

Beeac’s Grant McLaren, 13, has earned selection in Victoria’s under-18 lawn bowls team.

Beeac’s Grant McLaren, 13, has earned selection in Victoria’s under-18 lawn bowls team.

COLAC lawn bowls prodigy Grant McLaren is on track for a career in the sport after earning his first state selection at just 13 years of age.

The Beeac resident has earned one of 32 spots in Victoria’s under-18 team which will compete in a test series against Tasmania next month, and South Australia in January.

McLaren said he was rapt to make the team after narrowly missing out last season.

“It was pretty exciting to find out I’d gotten in, I was yelling and carrying on a bit,” McLaren said.

“I went to three of the four trial sessions, one was in Colac, two were in Bendigo and one was in Melbourne that I didn’t go to,” he said.

“I was pretty happy with how I went but there were about 70 boys trying out and only 16 boys’ spots so I wasn’t sure how I would go.”

The selection was third time lucky for McLaren, who has tried out for the state team for the past three years.

Each year the top 32 under-18 bowlers in the state – 16 boys and 16 girls – earn selection in the gold squad.

The next 48 bowlers earn a spot in the silver squad, which trains under elite coaches but does not represent the state.

“I made it to the silver squad last season, which is the second last stage, so I was keen to go that next step this season and represent Victoria,” he said.

“I tried out three years ago but I missed out, I was a bit nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but each year I’ve gotten more confidence because I knew what to expect.”

McLaren, the son of Heath and Judy McLaren, is a bowls veteran despite his young age, after getting his first taste of the sport at age three.

“I’ve been playing pennant bowls since I was eight, but I started practising when I was three, I went up with Dad and started at Cressy,” he said.

“We moved to Colac Lake bowls club last season and I was able to play a few Division One games.

“This season I’ve played all Division One, they’re promoting some of the young bowlers which I’ve enjoyed.

“I play in Will Collihole’s rink and he’s really looked after me.”

The Colac Secondary College Year Seven student said he trained weekly with Colac teammate Maurie Oates, and he will train with the state team once a month until the test series began.

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