Wellers Hill on top of the world
2016 BLK SEVENS champs are Wellers Hill, Salisbury, Ipswich City, Mermaid Beach and Brighton. Main photo, BLK SEVENS Div 1 champions 2016 Weller’s Hill Wasps, from left, Logan Litfin, Louie Surrentino, Carl Hearnden, Bryce Litfin, team captain Anthony Neven, Wayne Jones, Cohen Litfin, manager Norm Rowley, Kevin Higson, Lindsay Daley. Story and photos Naomi Cescotto BQ
The BLK Sevens spin off from Premier League Queensland was especially designed to allow a small club to compete against a powerhouse club, and the formula proved true for five champion clubs in 2016.
The glory, bragging rights and big money went to Wellers Hill Wasps (Div 1), Salisbury Magpies (Div 1 60+), Ipswich City (Div 3), Mermaid Beach (Div 5) and Brighton (Div 5 60+).
Big clubs like Broadbeach (Div 1 60+), South Tweed (Div 5) and Helensvale (Div 5 60+) are not used to coming second.
“Awesome atmosphere and brilliant comeraderie…except for the ones who beat us…” Broadbeach’s Robbie Allan said, tongue in cheek.
“It’s been great fun,” Bulls supporter Bev Hadley said, making the “L” for loser gesture at fellow Bulls spectator Gary Thomas, to stir him up just a bit. “I’m not saying anything, we lost,” Gary said.
New Farm were defending champs in Division 1, but were unable to go back to back, stung by the Wasps from Wellers Hill.
“Three years, three finals, thanks for the opportunity,” New Farm’s Neil Peach said, accepting the Division 1 runners up cheque. “Another wonderful comp, congratulations to Wellers Hill, they played wonderful bowls.”
Wasps team manager Norm Rowley and team captain Anthony Neven accepted the $8000 winner’s cheque for winning Division 1 against New Farm.
“We’re a small 35-member club, this means so much to us,” Anthony Neven said.
In Division 3, Souths Acacia Maggies were runners up to Ipswich City and they were delighted to get as far as they did.
“We literally play out of a shed, 35 playing members, we are so proud to be here today, it’s been a brilliant competition, we’ll be back, GO the Maggies!,” team captain John Thiele said.
“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed ourselves,” Ipswich City’s Wayne Palmland said.
In Division 5, Mermaid Beach prevailed over South Tweed in their first year playing SEVENS.
“We got talked into playing SEVENS by Southport and we’ve really enjoyed it,” Mermaid Beach’s Peter Cunningham said. “We’ll have to come up with a name for ourselves now, for our new shirts, the Mermaid Beach something…” (Part of the winner’s prizes are 10 polo shirts with their team name from sports wear manufacturer and SEVENS major sponsor BLK.)
Division 5 runner up South Tweed’s David Knox said “thanks for having us, and congratulations to Mermaid Beach”.
In Division 1, 60+ Salisbury’s Barry Ward said the team had been runners up last year, winners this year.
“Thanks to everyone, I enjoyed playing against Gail Waitai in today’s final.”
In Division 5, 60+ the most rowdy spectators added to the atmosphere of the final between powerhouse Helensvale Hawks and relative minnow Brighton, with Brighton excited beyond words to take home the $5000 winner’s cheque over such worthy rivals.
“It’s been a very fair competition and we all enjoyed it,” Brighton’s Barry Voltz said.
A special award was given at the start of the presenation ceremony, to the best team administrator of the 2016 season, the best “beaver behind the scenes” to keep the Sevens comp and results on track, with the inaugural award going to John Walkley from South Toowoomba.
“Nothing was too much trouble for John, if I needed something, he would be down to the club and get the information for me in five minutes,” Gary Chappell’s successor as Sevens Results coordinator Bev Formby said.
The Gary Chappell perpetual trophy has been struck in memory of the original results coordinator for the SEVENS competition Gary Chappell, who did the job with great energy and excellence until late last year. (Gary died in August 2015).
Gary’s widow Faye Chappell came to Bramble Bay to present the inaugural Gary Chappell Perpetual Trophy to John Walkley “a fellow like Gary”.
“I was born on the Darling Downs so it’s lovely to see the inaugural award go to a Downs bowler, Gary would have been tickled pink about this award being organised in his name,” Faye Chappell said.
BLK Sevens chairman Owen Bradley said there was $119,000 in prize money distributed this year, among 156 teams (158 clubs).
He thanked major sponsors BLK sports wear and Bramble Bay Bowls Club, and sponsors BCiB insurance, Aero Bowls and Club Helensvale.
Bramble Bay Bowls Club manager Jason Curry made a special award to Souths Acacia Maggies, a carton of beer.
“I bet them a carton they wouldn’t drink a carton during the Sevens Division 3 final and they did…so I’ll top it up,” Jason said, and the Div 3 runners up were delighted with their bonus prize.
It was the first experience of an Aussie Sevens competition for former Irish international Shane Leonard, who was enticed to Bramble Bay as bowls coordinator by Maria Rigby.
“I’ve been here seven months now, it’s brilliant,” Shane said.
Shane bowled in the World Juniors representing Ireland last year at Broadbeach, but Ireland refused to pick the Dubliner again this year, given he is no longer resident in Ireland.
He’s enjoying the quieter pace of the Redcliffe Peninsula, after the busyness of big city Dublin.
“We’ve enjoyed hosting Sevens and I’m looking forward to the upcoming District Sides, and I’ll be bowling for Bramble Bay,” Shane said.