Following yesterday’s announcement of the new Illawarra Gorillas team, three more teams have confirmed their playing contingents for November’s BPL06 event.
The Blundstone Melbourne Roys have secured two of the sport’s marquee players for their maiden Bowls Premier League appearances, in Australia’s number one male and female bowlers, Barrie Lester and Carla Krizanic.
The two Victorians, from Mulgrave Country Club and Sunbury Bowls Club respectively, are monumental signings for the Roys, whose licence is owned by the Fitzroy Victoria Bowls and Sports Club.
Joining the pair, who will next month be crowned Male and Female Bowlers of the Year at Bowls Australia’s Hall of Fame and Awards Night, is world champion Aaron Wilson, who is in contention for the coveted International Bowler of the Year award at the sport’s night of nights.
Stepping in as Coach for the Melbourne team is Victorian Coach and Selector, Ian “JR” Ewing.
Dobe Newton, the President of Fitzroy Victoria Bowls and Sports Club who own the Melbourne Roys team licence, was excited by the prospect of Barrie and Carla joining the team.
“Fitzroy Victoria, as an inaugural licensee, prides itself on being the “little club that could” and our philosophy hasn’t changed, but we’re now on a new and exciting journey,” Newton said.
“We’re honoured that the current number one female and male bowlers in the land have agreed to wear the Blundstone Melbourne Roys colours for BPL06.
“If glory comes their way, you’ll hear the cheers all the way from North Fitzroy.”
The Moama Bowls Club Murray Steamers and BLK Perth Suns have both elected to retain the same players, with an unchanged playing line-up confirmed for BPL06, while both bringing in new coaching personnel.
The Steamers, who finished as runners-up in last November’s BPL04 following an historic victory in 2014’s BPL02 as an expansion team, have again placed their faith in Canadian international Ryan Bester, who was a two-time Australian Male Bowler of the Year in 2015 and 2016, local Moama product Michael Walker and dual Australian Open singles champion Ellen Ryan, with club administrator Zane Mikin-Laurie returning as Coach following a short hiatus.
Mikin-Laurie was boisterous about the Steamers’ chances this year.
“Moama Bowling Club is very excited to be a part of this BPL and return for what will be a truly exciting event once again,” Mikin-Laurie said.
“Fresh off the back of a runners-Up performance at BPL04 at Club Pine Rivers, then a semi-final appearance in BPL05 in NZ, we have announced an unchanged playing line-up for BPL06, feeling we have the team to go one better at Pine Rivers this year.
“We have the in-form female in Australia at the moment, and Ryan Bester and Michael Walker having been super consistent performers for us and we feel the trios third tilt at the title could be their best yet.”
Similarly, the Suns have chosen to keep the same line-up of players in an attempt to better their fifth-place finish last February in New Zealand, with an all-Western Australian team of John Slavich, Pieter Harris and Australian Jackaroo Kristina Krstic, alongside new coach Lindsay Thorn.
Bowls WA Chief Executive Officer Ken Pride said Thorn will bring a hardness to the team.
“Five-time Alley Shield winning player and debutante coach Lindsay (Prickles) Thorn will bring a hard edge to the Suns play – expect the unexpected from him,” Pride said.
The sixth Bowls Premier League event will be held from November 14 to 17 at Brisbane’s Club Pine Rivers, with 20 hours of live Fox Sports coverage across the four days.
Stay tuned to bowls.com.au next week as the remaining five teams’ playing rosters are confirmed.