More than 190 of the nation’s best bowlers will roll into Darwin this week for the prestigious Australian Sides Championships – the sport’s only national state and territory open age event.
Such is the enormity of the Championships, two clubs will be utilised to stage the four-day competition, with Darwin Bowls and Social Club and Nightcliff Bowls Club both utilised in conjunction.
Wednesday, May 2 marks the return of the Championships to the Top End for the first time in more than 12 years, when the men’s only Alley Shield competition was held in Darwin in 2006 (it was also staged in Arafura in 1991 and Darwin in 1999) and the first occasion that the women’s Marj Morris Trophy and Overall State Champions Trophy have been contested in the Territory.
Across three rinks each, men’s and women’s teams from each State and Territory will vie over four days to determine more than just bragging rights, with three coveted trophies up for grabs.
The Sides Championships, which has an illustrious history dating back to 1959, is the sport’s only national state versus state competition, and features the top 12 men and women from each State and Territory across the nation, with the revered Alley Shield award to the victorious men’s team and the exalted Marj Morris Trophy handed to the winning women’s contingent.
South Australia will be crowing about the opportunity to contest the event again, following their monumental victory 12 months ago to earn just their second title following a 29-year drought, and will again be skipped by Scott Thulborn, Wayne Ruediger and Max Kleinig.
Queensland will also be eager to commence their title defence in the women’s event, and collective Overall trophy, and are also lining with the same three spearhead skips, Julie Keegan, Bolivia Millerick and Lynsey Clarke.
The event will commence with a bang, with the two defending champions going head-to-head in the opening round from 1.30pm on Wednesday.
Local crowds will no doubt through their support behind the Northern Territory team, who will be attempting to claim just their second women’s crown, last won in 1995, and first title triumph in the men’s competition.
As we’ve come to know and expect, no team can be overlooked when it comes to performing on the sport’s biggest stage, and the only guarantee is that eight states/territories will descend on Darwin intent on etching their name on the silverware in 2018.
Spectators are encouraged to take advantage of the free admission at both Darwin and Nightcliff to watch the nation’s best bowlers in action, from May 2 to 5.