Bowls Premier League Cup up for grabs

By Tyler Maher

The chance for Goulburn Valley Bowls Division lawn bowlers to compete on the biggest stage of all has come around for another year.

The Bowls Premier League Cup allows any team of three to do battle for their shot at playing in the televised national finals of the competition.

Teams can qualify through preliminary rounds at the local level before progressing through to the regional and state finals in an attempt to book an all-expenses paid ticket to Queensland in November.

The GVBD’s qualifying round is being staged this Saturday at Shepparton Park Bowling Club, and with only six confirmed team entries it is anyone’s event to win.

New Bowls Victoria north-east region manager John Emerson, who is replacing the departing Josh Thornton, encouraged all bowlers to head to Bowls Australia’s website and enter for this weekend’s event before tonight’s deadline.

‘‘We advertise it as the game for everyone and it really is,’’ Emerson said.

‘‘In last year’s event one of the national finalists was a team made up of division five and seven bowlers from Cairns, so anyone has a chance to win it all.

‘‘The only criteria is that you must be from the same club to be in a team, but you can have up to four, so you can have a sub as well.

‘‘It’s a short, fast format and each individual game probably goes for just over an hour. It’s amazing how competitive it gets.’’

Each BPL Cup game is staged as a two-set match of two-bowl triples, with five ends in each set and a tiebreaker end if required.

Powerplay ends are also used, with double shots awarded for teams who successfully use the strategy.

‘‘I encourage everyone to have a go,’’ Emerson said.

‘‘It doesn’t matter whether you think you’re good enough or not, it’s absolutely worth having a go because the winner of each state final gets accommodation and flights paid for to the national finals.’’

Benalla Bowling Club (this Sunday), Cobram Bowling Club (July 22) and Moama Bowling Club (August 12) are also hosting qualifying rounds in the coming weeks, with the Northern Region Final to be played at Shepparton Park on August 25.

Emerson will be in attendance at this weekend’s events, providing bowlers in the region with the opportunity to meet their new regional manager.

‘‘I’ve been playing bowls for 30-odd years now,’’ he said.

‘‘I have been doing this same job in Western Victoria for three years now, but when Josh moved I thought why not, Bendigo is my wife’s old stomping ground and we’ve always talked about moving back there.

‘‘So I’ll be based out of the Bendigo area, but I’m going to be at Shepparton Park on Saturday and I’ll be staying around for the Benalla one as well.’’