Schraner signs with Bendigo East
Bendigo East Bowling Club has pulled off a major coup, signing one of Australia’s best bowlers Lee Schraner as its player-coach for the 2018-19 Bendigo Pennant season.
Schraner, the current Australian Champion of Champions, multiple Vic Open champion and reigning Vic Medallist for the best performed player at Victoria’s marquee bowls event, will join the Beasties for next season.
“From our club’s point of view, we had a decision to make after this season where we wanted to go as a club,” Bendigo East secretary Rob Clough said, with the Bendigo Pennant competition growing significantly in strength and quality of players last season.
“He was top of our list. The Bendigo competition is getting stronger and stronger now and Lee is the sort of person we needed to add to our club as a coach and player.”
Schraner finished last season as Australia’s No.2 ranked male bowler behind Commonwealth Games silver medallist Barrie Lester.
Schraner, who is based in Tasmania, will operate on a fly-in, fly-out basis at Bendigo East, spending four days a week at the club during the Pennant season. He will coach, play, and help mentor players and coaches.
Clough says the club hopes signing Schraner will help Bendigo East become a destination club, not just for players within the Bendigo region, but perhaps drawing good players from Melbourne or regional areas to join the club.
“It should also help us get some players in that younger bracket, attract some high-profile players and make us a destination club.”
Bendigo East has a strong history of developing its own talent, with current Victorian women’s player Helen Clough and fellow State rep Chris Randell also Bendigo East products.
The club also has five bowlers completing Bowls Victoria coaching courses, and Schraner’s work with them could leave a great legacy for the club in terms of quality coaching.
Schraner’s strong friendship with Bendigo East player Brad Marron was also important in getting the Tasmanian on board at the Beasties.
Marron and Schraner play together at many major tournaments, and along with fellow Bendigo East player Dylan Filuk, won the Vic Open men’s triples in 2017.
Schraner has signed a one-year deal with Bendigo East at this stage, with the club keen to ensure a longer-term arrangement if it works out for all concerned.