2016 State Multi-Disabilities Championships
The Multi-Disabilities Championships, now in their third year, are the State Championships for bowlers with a disability in Victoria.
Thirty-three bowlers came from all parts of the state with some travelling from Warracknabeal, Gippsland, Shepparton, and Swan Hill to be involved and take part in three days of competition at Yarraville-Footscray BC from April 8 to 10, 2016.
Singles and pairs competitions were run for Bowlers with an Intellectual Disability and Bowlers with a Physical Disability, while on Sunday bowlers with a vision impairment joined in on the action in a round robin singles tournament.
Highlights included Brendan Elliott taking out his third consecutive singles title for bowlers with an intellectual disability, and adding a pairs title with Jason Barrett as well.
Commonwealth Games representative Tim Slater and Josh Thornton took out the pairs for bowlers with a physical disability, while Josh Barry made up for losses in the final the last two years, taking out the singles final for bowlers with a physical disability.
Trialling a new handicap system for bowlers with vision impairment, Tony Scott (Commonwealth Games bronze medallist) and his director Vicki Scott took out the title in one of three categories, with Mary Price and Ralph Simpson also victorious.
After a short welcome in the morning by Chairman of Yarraville Footscray BC Terry Vinton, play was officially opened by Maribyrnong City Council’s Director of Community Services Clem Gillings. There were a number of tight games on the first day of competition, with a high standard of bowls right from the first match.
It was a replay of the 2015 Singles final for bowlers with a physical disability as last year’s winner Lucas Protopapas squared off against Josh Barry in the first round. The two could hardly be separated, exchanging shots throughout before Barry took out a nail-biting victory 21-20.
Shepparton Park’s Ross Higgins bowled well all day to progress through his section undefeated. Tim Slater managed to sneak into the Semi Final round with the wildcard, narrowly progressing ahead of Protopapas on shot percentage.
In the pairs for bowlers with an intellectual disability, matched pairing of Natalie Brennan (Bareena) and David Warner (Berwick) gelled quickly to perform well throughout the day and progress to the Pairs final to be played Sunday morning.
The fixtures swapped around and saw the bowlers with an intellectual disability take to the green for their singles sectional play. Strong support from Moonee Valley BC was present for Joe Hebaiter and Anthony Lipec, and although the results didn’t go their way, it was great to see the club getting behind the two bowlers, in only their first and second seasons respectively.
Brendan Elliott (Somerville) remained undefeated through three games, as did Colac’s Steven Nelson. Although Berwick’s Campbell Walker didn’t progress through a tough section, he did take out his first singles victory, a highlight of the day. Edithvale’s Blake Herron bowled well all day, and his shot difference of +26 was enough to secure a wildcard entry into the semi-finals.
After dropping their first game of the day, Tim Slater & Josh Thornton had a big win against the Mulgrave pairing of Meakin & Morrison, before clinching their passage to the final on Sunday with a win over Altona North’s Gerry Carton and Alphington’s Stuart Ewin, 12-6.
Finals day for the Multi-Disabilities Championships started with the two Pairs finals, but also saw the inclusion of bowlers with a vision impairment, who trialled a new handicap system in a round robin competition in three categories; Ladies Open, Men’s B3 and Men’s Open.
The new handicap system saw different categories playing off in the Ladies and Men’s Open sections, with B1, B2, B3 and B4 playing off against each other, with +12, +8, +4 and 0 starting shot totals respectively.
This enables competitions to go ahead even when there aren’t enough within each classifications to run stand-alone competitions. This system is something that will be trialled in the hope that it may open up opportunities in other events in the future, including the Australian Open. The success of this was evident throughout the day, and an even competition was played out in the two open sections.
Brendan Elliott and Mitcham’s Jason Barrett proved too strong for Brennan and Warner in the bowlers with an intellectual disability Pairs final taking it out, 12-7. While Tim Slater and Josh Thornton were too good on the morning defeating the defending pairs champions for bowlers with a physical disability Protopapas & Barry, 10-6.
In the singles, Ross Higgins, participating in his first Multi-Disabilities Championships made it to the final, where even a late comeback couldn’t reel in Josh Barry, who made sude sure it wasn’t going to be three runner’s up medals in a row, defeating Higgins 21-17.
In a replay of last year’s singles final for bowlers with an intellectual disability which was decided by a single shot with a measure on the final end, David Warner again faced off against two-time champion Brendan Elliott. The class of both bowlers was on show throughout however Elliott had a smoother run in this year’s final, the eventual winner 21-15, making it three on the trot.
Bowls Victoria would like to thank; the Bowls Victoria Disability Support Committee for their assistance organising the event, a huge thank you to Wayne Roberts and the staff and members of Yarraville-Footscray BC for their support in the lead-up and throughout the event, Rick Henley and Oasis Turf for their sponsorship of the event, and all the parents and supporters who came out to cheer on the bowlers. The final thank you goes to the legendary Bob Carlson and the umpires and markers from within the region and beyond that assisted with the event, the Championships would not have been possible without their dedication, professionalism and support.
Bowls is for everyone, regardless of age, gender, ability or background, and this event showcases the opportunities for people with a disability to be involved with the sport. Yarraville-Footscray BC has a number of initiatives in place to connect with their community, as do most bowling clubs, including programs for people with a disability and local schools so were a fitting club to host the event.
We’re looking forward to the 2017 Multi-Disabilities Championships which are sure to be bigger and better than ever!
Please click here for the full list of results from the 2016 Multi-Disabilities Championships
For more information on getting involved with the sport of bowls or the other opportunities for bowlers with a disability within the sport, please visit the Bowls Victoria website www.bowlsvic.org.au or contact Scott Nicholas, Participation & Club Development Manager.