The process of determining the inaugural BPL Cup champion team has been set in motion, with two states commencing their regional qualifying rounds over the weekend.
Victoria and South Australia got the bowl rolling to Bowls Australia’s exciting new pathway event, the BPL Cup, with qualifying rounds staged across two clubs in each region.
South Australia’s Salisbury Bowling Club can crow about being the first club in the world to host a BPL Cup match, after staging their event last Friday night under lights – and their impressive new dome roofing structure.
The inaugural event boasted participation from 15 teams, and following four rounds of knockout matches, Modbury’s Dave Callahan, Peter Horsnell and Gary Thompson became the first team to secure a spot in a State BPL Cup final, defeating local Salisbury hopefuls Graham Soar, Roger Ward and Greg Daulby 6-4, 4-3 in the decider.
Two regional Victorian clubs took the reins on Saturday, with Warrnambool City Memorial Bowling Club and Moama Bowling Club the next of 62 clubs nationwide to host qualifying rounds.
Warrnambool’s event featured 12 teams representing five clubs, but it was an all-Koroit final, after two teams upstaged local City Memorial entrants in the semi-finals.
The contest between Scott Boschen and Barry Padghem’s two teams was captivating, with the former claiming the encounter 13-0, 7-4 to advance to Victoria’s state final.
More than 375km away, Moama’s qualifier reached boiling point, with the semi-finals both decided on the one-end tie-break, and again, with the local Moama hopefuls bundled out.
The final involved the City of Echuca’s Stephen Cunnington, William Cook, Geoff Haldon and Michelle Cunnington and Kyabram’s David Cartwright, Greg Shilling, Russell Locke, Paul McInnes, Kelvin Hubble and Bill Hatzie, with both teams electing to bring a full contingent of six players to sub-in for the three positions.
After levelling the first set at 5-5, it was all single shots in the second set, with the City of Echuca crew securing victory by the smallest of margins, 3-2 in the second set.
The focus turned back to South Australia for the fourth event, which was staged at Payneham Bowling Club on Sunday.
Proving that persistence really does pay off, the winners of the event were a team that had earlier competed in the Salisbury event, on Friday night, but were unsuccessful in their first attempt.
Tranmere’s team of John Diestel-Fedderse, Graham Young, Justin Parkinson and Dino Decorso were very familiar with the format by the time they had reached the final, and claimed the honours without dropping a set in either preliminary rounds or final.
They prevailed in the decider 7-2, 5-1 over Adelaide’s Alan Hurst, Scott Colvill, Justin Colvill and Austin Cunningham.
The BPL Cup event features knockout qualifying rounds staged across numerous clubs in each state and territory, except Western Australia, which feed directly into seven state/territory finals, with those winners rewarded with flights and accommodation for three people to compete in the National BPL Cup final, held during BPL06 at Club Pine Rivers in November.
Western Australia will utilise the popular Mandurah BPL Cup event to determine its qualifiers for the National BPL Cup final, ensuring representation of each state and territory.
Victoria’s state final will be held at Fitzroy Victoria Bowls and Sports Club on September 24, while South Australia’s will be staged at Salisbury on a date still to be determined.
Four more clubs will get involved in the BPL Cup action this week, including Burnie (TAS, July 14), Gisborne (VIC, July 15), Berri (SA, July 16) and Sebastopol (VIC, July 16).
Full draws and results for all past regional BPL Cup rounds can be found at www.bowls.com.au/BPL-Cup.
Caption: BPL Cup winners from the weekend. Headline image: The first BPL Cup winners, Modbury’s Dave Callahan, Peter Horsnell and Gary Thompson.