Australian Championships heading to Merimbula’s Club Sapphire
The Australian Championships has returned to Bowls Australia's calendar of events, with Merimbula's Club Sapphire set to host the tournament for the next three years.
State and Territory champions from across the country will soon vie for national titles, with Bowls Australia confirming that the Australian Championships will return to this year’s calendar of events.
The event returns to the calendar after a 12-year hiatus, having last been played at Harbord, NSW in 2004.
Merimbula’s Club Sapphire has secured the rights to stage the competition for three years, with the first edition scheduled to be played from November 28 to December 1, 2017.
All eight State and Territory Association’s singles, pairs, triples and fours champions will be awarded entry into the event annually, with up to 160 competitors shaping the field.
The event boasts a rich history, dating back to 1979 when it was first played in Melbourne, but seemingly went into hibernation following the creation of the Australian Open in 2005.
Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple said the re-inclusion of the event on the national stage will once again provide a pathway for state and territory winners.
“The Australian Championships is a worthy inclusion on the sport’s calendar, and will provide an opportunity for players to progress from their respective state and territory championships to compete for coveted national titles,” Dalrymple said.
“Club Sapphire have been hand-picked to host this event for the next three years, which is a resounding endorsement on the quality of their newly upgraded facilities and eagerness to host one of the sport’s most prestigious tournaments.”
Club Sapphire CEO Damien Foley said recent developments at the club make it the ideal venue to host the newly re-introduced event.
“We at Club Sapphire Merimbula take great pride in developing the sport of bowls, both in our region, in New South Wales and on the national stage,” Foley said.
“We’ve recently undertaken significant renovation and refurbishment of our facilities, which include a covered 15 rink carpet greens facility and viewing deck, as well as a number of other areas within the club, such as our dining facilities.
“Given the opportunity, we are confident we can provide a fantastic product as host venue for this prestigious event.”
Club Sapphire will take centre stage this week as it plays host to the Victoria v New South Wales in the interstate test series tomorrow and Wednesday.
Further information about the Australian Championships will be released closer to the event.
NSW and Victoria Raise the Roof at Merimbula
At the end of July our men’s bowls section created history in winning not one but two New South Wales state pennant flags. Our grade 2’s and grade 6’s both won their respective finals.
Pennant bowls is considered the absolute top level in lawn bowls in NSW. Our players are not paid.
To put this achievement into perspective, we understand our club is only the second club in NSW bowls history to achieve this feat, the first in over twenty years, and is the only non-metropolitan club to ever achieve this.
These two victories were even more significant on a local front with Merimbula becoming the first club in the history of bowls on the far south coast to win a men’s state title (fifty plus years of history).
With our grade 6 teams relative inexperience their achievement is even more remarkable considering the opposition they faced.
For our grade 2 team, their title is ranked as the 2nd highest accolade in the sport within the state. For them to defeat big metropolitan Sydney clubs including Australia’s biggest bowling club, St Johns Park, is truly remarkable.
It has taken an incredible amount of commitment and hard work from all of our bowls section including players, team managers, committees, and especially our Bowls Development Officer Michael Wilks and also our Greenkeeper Peter Sverdrupsen. We are fortunate to have built one of the best clubs in the sport and right now, at this point, are the toast of the sport across NSW and Australia.
This achievement has well and truly put our club on the “Australian bowls” map, and this combined with our new state of the art covered bowls facilities and renovated club house, will ensure we are invited to host many new high level bowls events bringing many visiting players to Merimbula, creating significant economic benefit to the Club and the town.
Please join me in congratulating our bowlers when you see them in the club, this is truly a remarkable milestone in our clubs history and helps secure the clubs financial future.
2016 Mixed Pairs:
The Mixed Pairs final was between Tina Croker/Dave Croker & Kris Mulcahy/Jeff Martin. Tina & Dave qualified for the final with a comfortable semi final victory over Maureen McArdle/Chris Maxted. Kirsty Woods/Wayne Woods made Kris & Jeff battle through the first half of their semi final with scores being level after 11 ends. Kris & Jeff drew away in the second half of the semi with an eventual 8 shot margin. In the final the scores were 10-10 after 11 ends however a 3,3 and then a
4 on the 13th to the 15th ends saw Kris & Jeff draw away to a 20-11 lead after 15 ends and 22 -15 after 17 ends. Tina & Dave won the last 4 ends but were only able to score 1 on each of those ends thanks to good covering bowls by Kris & Jeff who ran out eventual winners 22-19 after
21 ends. Congratulations to both the winners and runners up on a great performance.
2016 Men's Triples:
The mens triples final was between Terry Ubrihien/Chris Maxted/Ken Edwards and Dave "Crockett" Reardon/Derek Richmond/Ron Moloney. Kens team had qualified after a narrow last end 20-18 win over Steve Greig/Greg Mallard/James Reynolds. Ron's team won their semi with a 24-
23 victory over a fast finishing Wayne Woods/Jeff Martin/Gary Vale. The final was a tight contest initially with scores being 11 all after 13 ends and 14-13 to Moloney after 16 ends. The 17th end proved pivotal.
With Edwards holding 3 shots, Moloney sat out the shot bowl for +1 shot.
With a 3 and the a 2 on the next two ends, Moloney had established a 7 shot lead which Edwards was unable to reel in. The final score was 27
-18 to Crockett, Derek and Ron. Well done to the victors and all of the semi finalists.
2016 Men's Major Minor Pairs: Click here to access the 2016 Men's Major Minor Pairs Draw. The final of this event was played in late October with Dylan Cuthbert and Dave Croker up against Gary Vale and Alf King, who was filling in for Alan Simpson who was on the sick list. This game was tight in the early stages, however Gary & Alf drew clear in the middle stages and were able to extend their lead in the last half a dozen ends. Congratulations to Gary, Alan & Alf on a great tournament.
2016 Men's Pairs: Merimbula icon Wayne “Squizzy” Taylor has teamed with local bowls legend Warren Love to claim this years Merimbula men’s club pairs crown in trying conditions last Saturday.
Taylor and Love advanced to the final after a high standard semi final victory over passed winners Dylan Cuthbert and Michael Wilks last week.
With Taylor providing quality support the best Cuthbert and Wilks had to offer was not enough to stop Love from producing a series of brilliant conversions across the 21 end duration.
In the other semi final another former winner in Bill Holloway and Boris Schneider also had a tough contest as they just managed to outlast up and coming talents Scott Pettit and Brent Daly.
The game which was also of a high standard saw Holloway and Schneider ware down a spirited challenge to claim the game by just a handful of shots.
Last Saturday’s final was contested in windy conditions testing all four participants throughout the match.
Right from the start Taylor and Love took the ascendancy as they claimed a slender early margin. Over the period of the game Holloway and Schneider harassed their opposition to the point where they trailed by only two shots with a handful of ends remaining.
With the possibility of the victory going to Holloway and Schneider however it was Squizzy Taylor that stepped up executing a pin point running shot to remove the opposition’s closest bowl and provide the opportunity for his skip to grab four shots and enough margin to hang on for the win.
The victory is the second consecutive club pairs for Warren Love who has now won a staggering 45+ club championship titles over his illustrious career.
All focus will now switch to the upcoming state pennant finals in late July where Love and Schneider will both be important members in Merimbula’s quest to claim their first state pennant title.
With both grade’s two and six qualifying, the Dolphins will head to Weston Creek in Canberra in a couple of weeks for final preparations for their 2016 campaign.
2016 Men's Minor Pairs:In an emotion charged final Nathan Ward and Stephen Greig have claimed this years Minor Pairs crown at Merimbula.
The event which commenced in early April saw Ward and his original partner Andrew “Liver” Lemon combine as the least experienced team in the 13 team field.
Over the early rounds both Liver and Ward showed what great potential they were blessed with as they defeated more experienced and accomplished players to advance to the semi finals.
Liver who is an icon in local cricketing circles displayed the qualities which saw him become one of the most revered batsmen in our region from the first day he rolled a bowl.
With the minor pairs being one of his first club championship events, his highly competitive approach coupled with the calm measured outlook undertaken by his partner Nathan Ward, posed a serious hurdle for any opposition to overcome.
After progressing through the opening two games in close matches, Liver and Ward faced a tough adversary in Daryl Wren and Peter O’Keefe. The two teams traded blows over the 21 end duration with only one shot separating them at the games completion.
In the other half of the draw it was Don Pope and Tony Shaw that booked their grand final ticket. In a close game Pope and Shaw proved a shade too experienced for relative new comers Grant Burton and Alan Simpson in what was a high standard game.
Tragically with Liver set to play in his first of what would have been many finals he passed away suddenly leaving the outcome of this year’s minor pairs in limbo.
With a couple of months passing Ward displayed great courage to take to the green last Sunday to honour his partner and friend in the long awaited final.
Teaming with his close friend and designated substitute for Liver, Stephen Greig, the four players acknowledged a minutes silence prior to the commencement of the game then went about playing the decider in an admirable fashion.
In the early ends both teams traded blows with scores remaining close. As if an angel was sitting on their shoulders though, Ward and Greig overcome the challenge through the middle stages to open a break.
Over the concluding ends emotions ran high but in a fitting tribute to a fantastic man, Ward and Greig hung on to place theirs and the Lemon name on the honour boards of the Merimbula-Imlay Bowling club among all the champions that have come before them.
Through what has been a very testing time for the membership at Merimbula some great positives have risen above the heartache. The sportsmanship displayed by Don Pope and Tony Shaw both in the lead up to and during the final is to be admired. The spectators that attended the final are to be congratulated along with the members of the club who have again proven what makes their club so special.
Andrew “Liver” Lemon has impacted the game of bowls at Merimbula in a fantastic way. His passing well before his time was challenging for many of us to deal with but invariably he has left a positive mark on the people he touched.
2016 Men's Consistency Singles: Tony Shaw is the 2016 Consistency Singles champion after a hard fought final against Alan Simpson. After 14 tight ends there was no change to lead with Alan maintaining his initial 12 point advantage. At this point Tony really ramped up his game drawing level after 16 ends and going on to score a well deserved victory after 23 ends. Congratulations to both players on top class performances throughout the competition.
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Watch this space for upcoming news or contact Michael Wilks, Bowls Development Officer or phone 02 - 6495 5216.