The Under 25 team was introduced at county level to give an opportunity to junior players to enhance their competitive play in matches against other counties with the intention of honing their individual skills and enhancing their maturity as club bowlers. If they are to improve their standard of play and realise their ambition to play at County and National level they must be exposed to matches that provide for these higher goals and their clubs must release them to do this even if it means they are unable to select for their own matches from those players.

SCIBA supports 100% the efforts to progress the School of Excellence and the re-introduction of the EBYDS infrastructure. All players 10 - 14 and 14 - 18 must go through the modular learning system in place at the School of Excellence. This is in addition to the training programme individual clubs have in place for their young players. The School of Excellence has a strong focus not only on the mechanics of the sport of indoor bowls but just as importantly the established protocols and traditional etiquette that is expected of those playing the sport and has been in place certainly over the past century and probably much further back! Please contact Peter Blanks directly on 01903 243000 and he will do the rest for you. If as an U18 player your club has not put you forward for the "School of Excellence" speak to Peter Blanks personally and he will arrange your induction. It is a very important part of your individual coaching and hugely beneficial to both your indoor and outdoor bowls future.

One of those protocols and often neglected, is that of the order of priority when it comes to match play. The rule of thumb runs National, County, Competition and then Club. If we don't keep to this simple maxim the career paths of our potentially top players will become more difficult to follow and we owe it to our Under 25's to encourage talent wherever possible. I would ask Club Coaches, Secretaries and designated club youth trainers to please follow this order. It's appreciated younger players will want to be loyal to their own club but if the responsible parties at that club are promoting say club selection over county selection then that is misleading and setting a very poor example. Furthermore, it damages the county much more than I think people realize and beyond that it establishes poor self discipline in our younger players and promotes a seriously bad habit that can have a long lasting detrimental effect on the youngsters' playing career. If clubs persist in overriding the county in this manner their young players may be marginalized when it comes to county selection. The county needs to be able to guarantee player selections irrespective of club demands and clubs need very much to recognize that obligation and their responsibility to ensure that as a county we meet our commitment to every county match. SCIBA is aware of the weight of responsibility clubs place on the shoulders of their top players, often few in number and that they are stretched on the odd occasion that players are called up for county duty but we depend on you to show leadership and put Sussex before club. The sacrifice made is hugely appreciated and never taken for granted but without the partnership of the clubs Sussex County will never be able to progress to regular play in the top echelons of the sport. Sussex County thanks you all very much for that consideration.

SCIBA must by law maintain a record of REGISTERED U25 players for the coming season. If a player is not registered by his club he cannot be selected to play for the Sussex Under 25's or indeed in any Sussex County match. It is, therefore, of paramount importance that Club Secretaries, U25 Coaches/Trainers ensure that full details of their U25 players are provided in writing to the SCIBA Secretary prior to the start of each season. In the case of Under 18's the County will seek parental consents and medical histories and will hold that information centrally under the County Secretary. Clubs are entitled to request a copy of those consents for their own records.

Every Under 25 player must ensure their up to date contact details are lodged with their Club Secretary. This is particularly important to SCIBA should an individual player be called in at short notice for a county commitment and is important to you as a player particularly if you miss out because nobody can contact you!

Players will not be contacted on an individual basis if selected for a County U25 or senior match and non attendance at matches will result in County Rule (15) being invoked potentially leading to a suspension of up to 3 years from County play and County competition. There is no excuse for not personally ensuring that you have been selected to play in a match. It is your responsibility to check the match team sheet and sign off on the game. Nobody else's! If you are selected but cannot play, for whatever reason, you MUST let Ray Leggett or Barry Torode (Contact numbers are listed on the website) know or if they are unavailable myself on 01903 248049. This must be done as soon as you know your unavailability in order adequate time is given to secure a replacement player. Match sheets are also published by the County Team Secretary on this website so come back often to check them.

I wish you all an enjoyable season. Good luck in your competitions and with all your matches.