From Head Office
– By Bowls Victoria Chief Executive Graeme Bridge
Pennant may have wound down around the state, but the busiest month of the year for Victorian bowls is just kicking off.
We’ve got Under 18 Championship Week, the Multi-Disabilities State Championships and Women’s Region Sides all coming up in the next week.
Then we’ve got State Champions Week and Men’s Region Sides, plus the Bowls Victoria Board is doing its region visits during April and into the first few weeks of May.
The National Sides Championships is now under way, and for those playing in it, it’s an ideal prelude if they’re playing in State Champions Week finals.
In an administrative and competition sense, it’s the busiest six weeks of the year.
No doubt Regions and Divisions will be now looking at their Pennant competitions around the state towards next season.
We’ve just put out our entry forms for the 2016-17 Metropolitan Pennant season, a competition Bowls Victoria runs, and we’re looking at diversifying what our offering is.
Pennant doesn’t have to be straight-out sides of 8, 12 or 16. Formulate a competition based on what the numbers are, so it gives everyone an opportunity to play.
You just can’t have a closed mind on playing sides of 8, 12 or 16. Maybe sides of six or sides of nine playing two bowl triples could be looked at to give everybody an opportunity to get a game.
Also, Regions and Divisions should be looking at what the length of a season looks like.
We’ve seen a few recent instances of innovative ideas, like Peninsula Bowls Division’s Twilight Pennant, the Super Sixes which Bowls Victoria was involved in putting together, and I was interested to hear about the upcoming Ballarat District Bowls Division’s Super Dome Series.
They’re all good initiatives – provided they’re run at a time that’s convenient to attract new people to play.
These competitions have got to be used to try and promote what different formats are available, because traditional Pennant doesn’t tick the box for everyone.
Pennant’s like Test cricket. It’s the most traditional format that can be undertaken, but it’s also the one not a lot of new people are attracted to because of the time commitment.
You can’t have a Pennant-or-nothing else attitude, because that’s not going to prolong the sport.
Our Women’s Region Sides has been moved to a weekend and along with the Men’s Region Sides and State Champions Week, they have all become profile events in Victoria.
There’s also been a shift with the men’s. Traditionally it’s been in January – the hottest part of the year. But we’ve moved it to the last weekend of April to give it the chance to bring the curtain down on our season.
The move to a weekend for the Women’s Region Sides should ensure we get the best possible representatives from each Region, which is what we want for this tournament.
It provides an ideal lead-in to State Champions Week, which continues to grow. It’s building on its profile and its ability to attract more spectators to the sport.
We’re getting so many people now going to Bendigo for the week, not only to compete, but to cheer on those involved.
Next to the Vic Open, State Champions Week is the place to be seen for bowls.
We’re unearthing more and more good players from this series of state finals – among the most recent Tiffany Brodie and Jody Nevill.
Tiff’s rise has been well documented, while Jody has emerged to play for Victoria’s women during this season off the back of her success at last year’s State Champions Week.
For the upcoming Women’s Region Sides at Murray Downs, Northern Gateway go into the 2016 event having won the past three titles and will feel some Hawthorn-like pressure going for a three-peat plus one.
I was lucky enough to attend the recent VicSport awards night on Bowls Victoria’s behalf, and it was great to see bowls represented among the nominees.
Bob Carlson was shortlisted for the Victorian Official of the Year award. Losing out to Thomas Sweeney, a renowned umpire on the world tennis tour, was no disgrace and it was a great effort for Bob to make the final three.
The Armed Vics were among the Team of the Year nominees after their three-peat of national Bowlers Arm championships – the award eventually won by netball’s Victorian Fury.
The 2016 Australian Open is looming large, and entries for the Gold Coast event have been extended to April 25.
We encourage all Victorian bowlers to consider entering the prestigious event, which is open to all affiliated bowlers.
You can find out more here
Bowls Victoria’s Board is looking forward to our upcoming regional visits.
We’d like Clubs, Regions and Divisions to submit their items for discussion at those meetings. For members, just let your Club know, and they will pass on that item to Bowls Victoria for inclusion on the agenda.
If people have something they want discussed, here’s a chance to get it addressed.
We still have a few dates to confirm yet in early to mid-May, so if your region’s not listed, don’t panic. It just means we haven’t locked in a venue with those Regions for our proposed visit. That will happen fairly soon.
Here’s the list of confirmed visits so far.
Tuesday, April 12 – Ovens & Murray Region – Bright BC
Wednesday, April 13 – Central Goulburn Murray Region – Mooroopna BC
Thursday, April 14 – Bendigo Campaspe Region – Eaglehawk BC
Friday, April 15 – Central Victoria Region – Creswick BC
Wednesday, April 27 – Gippsland Region – Stratford BC
Thursday, April 28 – Strzelecki Region – Leongatha BC