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News Team Henselite Natasha Jones leads gold rush at Australian U18 Champs
October 22, 2012

The Australian Under 18 Championships were fiercely contested in North Launceston earlier this month with Australia's best young bowling talent on display. In a battle right down to the wire, it was the team from WA who finished the tournament on top with two gold, two silver and two bronze medals from the eight disciplines, as well as the boys and girls trophies, and the Robert Middleton Overall Champions Trophy.

But as far as individual performances went it was Queenslander, Natasha Jones who caught everyone's eye, holding her nerve to win two gold medals in extremely close finals. The Bribie Island teenager took out a 21-20 win in the blue ribbon singles event against South Australia's Renee McPharlin and followed up with a 19-18 triumph in the pairs, skipping Madison Styles, over reigning champions Elizabeth Allan and Rechelle Cole, from Western Australia.

This tops off what has already been a great year for Natasha, a Team Henselite stalwart who also won the QLD All School Cup. "I felt ecstatic." she said after her singles win. "All my hard work had finally paid off. I was overwhelmed and really happy."

"I was a little nervous going into the final, though not as much as some of my other games as I had already played Renee McPharlin once and had beaten her so I had confidence that I could do it again. It was special to win the pairs because I wanted to share the experience of wining gold with Madi (Styles) and also because we were so far behind and came back to win it."

In a week full of highlights for this young star in the making, it was difficult to chose which she enjoyed most. "I enjoyed making the Australian Junior Squad, not losing a game throughout the whole week and winning gold in singles for my mum, dad, grandma and grandad," she said.

Also among the gold medal winners for QLD were two of Australia's most promising young male bowlers, Sean Ingham and Rohan Wilson who took out a close final, prevailing 18-17. Henselite team-mate, Ellen Ryan of NSW, also showed the form she displayed earlier in the year when she won the Australian Open U18 Singles title, taking out a gold medal in the triples. Breeanna Dickson was also on the medal dias, after skipping the SA girls fours team to a victory.

Following the Australian Under-18 Championships, the National Selection Panel unveiled its 2012-13 Australian Under-18 Squad, with 22 players earning a berth in the feeder system for the next 12 months. Team Henselite's Breeanna Dickson (SA), Dawn Hayman (NSW) Natasha Jones (QLD),  Ellen Ryan (NSW), Chloe Stewart (VIC) and Bradley Thomas (ACT), all claiming a spot.  

Photos: Top right, Queensland's Natasha Jones; bottom left, South Australia's Breeanna Dickson.

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Natasha Jones leads gold rush at Australian U18 Champs