Day One Recap: TBA President’s Junior Shield

By Matt Stevens
April 18, 2024

The 2024 TBA President’s Junior Shield began with a vibrant opening ceremony, marking the start of what promises to be an exhilarating chapter in the storied history of this prestigious event.

Teams from across Australia and New Zealand have taken to the lanes at the AGL National High-Performance Centre, completing the first seven of their 21 games. The competition is heating up with some standout performances and unexpected turns that set a dynamic tone for the days ahead. Here’s a quick rundown of the day’s highlights, including early leaders, surprise performances, and the fierce battle in both the boys’ and girls’ divisions.

Opening Ceremony for 2024 TBA President’s Junior Shield

The competitive spirit was high as Victoria took a slim lead in the overall standings with 69 points on the first day. Close behind, North Queensland claimed the second spot with 66 points showing balanced strength across their boys (32 points) and girls (34 points) teams. In third sport was Northern NSW not far off at 59.5 points. The race is tight with all teams poised for a challenge as the event progresses.

The boys’ team from Victoria cheering on their teammates

Victoria’s boys team displayed a flawless performance on day one, sweeping all matches to finish 7-0 and lead with 40 points. The team, boasting four NTS18 athletes, saw Nicholas Rajkovic lead the charge. Rajkovic won five out of his six games, boasting an impressive average of 233, topping the individual standings and the All-Star race. His teammates, including the Zaccaria brothers and Mitchell Wardrop, all averaged over 200, with Oliver Zaccaria going undefeated at an average of 213.4.

Just eight points behind, North Queensland finished the day with 32 points. Blayde Christensen, averaging 218.5, made significant contributions despite capturing only 3 points for his team. Kohan Davis emerged as the most valuable player for North Queensland, securing five wins in seven games.

South Queensland closely trails with 31 points, led by the remarkable Will Mison who went 6-0 with an average of 206. Mison, a young 15-year-old talent from the Inclusion NTS Team, has shown exceptional dedication and passion for the sport, always involved no matter the division.

The All-Stars race is underway with Nicholas Rajkovic leading, followed by Blayde Christensen, Mitchell Wardrop, Oliver Zaccaria, and Northern NSW’s Jake Sayer making up the top contenders.

278-Oliver Zaccaria (VIC)

A Victoria supporter doing all they can to scare off the competition

The North Queensland girls team emerged as the frontrunners on day one, leading the pack with 34 points. Key players Emily HInspeter, Emily Starkey, and Sophie Jones played pivotal roles, with Starkey standing out by securing six wins from seven matches. The team capitalised on the schedule, benefiting from two byes at strategic times which added to their point haul. Despite a loss to Northern NSW in game 6, they ended the day with a strong 6-1 record and sit early favourites.

In a close second, Northern NSW amassed 32.5 points, showing increasing momentum as the day progressed. Brianna Walsh, a notable NTS18 rising star, was instrumental in their performance, clinching six wins and averaging an impressive 196.9.

Victoria is not far behind, holding third place with 29 points, with South Queensland and New Zealand trailing at 26.5 and 25 points respectively. The competition in this division promises to be fiercely contested down to the last frame.

The day’s outstanding performers were led by South Queensland’s Bella Westlake, who continued her strong form following a runner-up finish in the Masters. Other notable bowlers in the All-Star race include Victoria’s Chloe Gee, Northern NSW’s Brianna Walsh, and North Queensland’s Emily HInspeter and Northern New South Wales bowler, Vanessa Hannigan. These athletes have set a high standard, promising more exciting performances in the days to come.

254 – Brianna Walsh (NNSW)

As the TBA President’s Junior Shield continues, we look forward to more intense competition and standout performances. Another 7 games are on the agenda for day two so stay tuned for further updates as teams and individuals push towards victory in this prestigious event.

Brianna Walsh and the Northern New South Wales Squad