Is this the future for competition bowls?
Pennant is without doubt the competition of choice for Victoria’s bowlers.
But what about an alternative for those who can’t take part in Pennant? Those who are time-poor, or those who don’t want to or can’t commit to a full Saturday afternoon or Tuesday every week? Or clubs seeking a different shape of tournament?
Two tournaments – the recent Peninsula Bowls Division’s Twilight Pennant and upcoming Super Sixes at Mulgrave Country Club – may well provide a blueprint for the future.
Peninsula Bowls Division President Geoff Hooper tells Bowls Victoria how their Twilight Pennant Tournament came about.
The Peninsula Bowls Division is one of three Divisions that comprise the Peninsula Casey Bowls Region along with Flinders and Casey Divisions.
Whilst Flinders and Peninsula have their own pennant competitions, Casey is aligned with metropolitan pennant.
When the new Peninsula Bowls Division Board was elected midway through last season, one of its first initiatives was to set up a Taskforce Committee to look at all aspects of bowls within the Division.
In addition to reviewing Midweek and Saturday Pennant options, the committee also investigated new ideas to engender interest in the game.
Out of this discussion the idea of a Twilight Competition grew, with clubs from across the three Divisions being invited to enter teams. The tournament was seen as a vehicle for bringing players from each of the Divisions together as a starting point to fostering closer ties between the Divisions.
The format adopted was this – two games each night with teams of five playing 12 ends of three-bowl pairs and two-bowl triples concurrently. In order to keep the games flowing the following rules were applied – no rolling of the jack by the leads, no players going up to the head, no umpires (a player from the next rink could be asked to adjudicate if required). Games began each evening at 6.15pm and were completed by 9.30pm.
Mt Martha and Mt Eliza clubs were chosen to host the tournament as they were centrally located and had recently installed carpet greens and lights, a great opportunity for them to showcase their new facilities.
The inaugural tournament comprised 16 men’s teams and eight women’s teams from across the Mornington Peninsula.
Women’s and men’s competitions ran concurrently over eight weeks with finals taking place on the ninth night. At the conclusion of the initial rounds the top eight men’s teams and the eight women’s teams competed to determine the winning clubs. The finals format consisted of teams 1 – 4 playing off for the ‘A’ Division title and teams 5 – 8 competing for the ‘B’ Division title.
The finals were played in superb conditions in a carnival-like atmosphere, complete with music, at Mt Martha Bowling Club with players and spectators being treated to local pizzas, hamburgers and sausages throughout the evening compliments of the PBD Board.
The results were as follows: Women’s ‘A’ Division went to Mt Martha (Flinders) over City of Frankston (Peninsula). Women’s ‘B’ Division was won by Karingal (Peninsula) over Blue Hills (Peninsula).
Men’s ‘A’ Division went to Hastings (Peninsula) over Mornington Civic (Peninsula). In the Men’s ‘B’ Division Dromana (Flinders) defeated Rosebud (Flinders).
What the Twilight Tournament demonstrated was that there is still a place in bowls for women only and men only competitions in addition to open or mixed competitions.
It showed that all clubs, from the smallest to the largest, are able to field competitive teams when only a small number of players comprise the team.
And that the interaction of the three Peninsula Casey Divisions was embraced by the players augurs well for future expansion of the competition.
The PBD Board thanks the players and clubs who supported the initiative and made it a great success – Mt Martha and Mt Eliza, the host clubs whose members volunteered their time each week to support the players and to Board members Pauline Summer-Hayes and Stan Sliwinski who co-ordinated the event.
All contributed significantly to the Twilight Pennant Tournament’s great success.
Peninsula Bowls Division Twilight Pennant story
What is Super Sixes?