ANZAC test series best yet
Queensland’s Chairman’s XII has won the third annual ANZAC test series against Defence bowlers, 3-0. Pictured, Member for Lytton in the Queensland Parliament Joan Pease MP on the mat to roll the honorary first bowl of the 2016 ANZAC Test Series between Bowls Queensland Chairman’s XII and Defence (ASBA – Australian Services Bowls Assn), flanked by, from left, Chairman’s XII’s Chrissie Pavlov, Alan Thorp and Kerry Flint, Manly chairman Ian Reed and vice chairman Trevor Musch, BQ chairman Peter Williamson, and ASBA Defence bowlers Dale Reeves ARMY, Phil Black NAVY and Shaun Keitel AIR FORCE (based in Brisbane).
With Defence claiming Manly Bowls Club as their spiritual “home ground”, Queensland’s Chairman’s XII had its work cut out as they shaped up to play (April 23-24).
“We lost to Queensland at Hamilton Bowls Club in 2014 but we won here at Manly last year, this is our “home turf” now, it’s great to be back here, and we’re out to win again,” Navy man Jason Smith from Darwin warned the Chairman’s XII.
Jason is a ‘veteran’ of the ANZAC bowls test series, having played every series, and he hopes to be able to play for the full five years of the series (2014 – 2018), to commemorate the centenary of ANZAC and the five years of the First World War.
If you were thinking it might be a gentlemanly agreement “your turn to win this year, mine next year” sort of thing, you couldn’t be more wrong!
“There’s no “your turn” about it, we’re here to win, this year, every year,” Army’s Steve Sobolewski said, after flying in from Sydney with wife Dawn, his first time playing the ANZAC series.
Anita AJ Jenkins Navy from Melbourne was also hungry for a Defence win.
“I was part of the inaugural series when we lost, and I couldn’t play last year when we won, so I’m hoping to be on the winning side this year,” AJ said.
Navy combat systems operator Kaitlin Shaw from Nowra was another first timer at the 2016 ANZAC series.
“I’m really looking forward to it, playing with everyone from ASBA, and yes, we’re gonna win!”, Kaitlin, a bowler of seven years said.
Another first timer was Harry McCallion from RAAF Darwin, who was looking forward to playing “with and against good bowlers”.
Gerard Harkins, RAAF Richmond, organised the original series in conjunction with then-Bowls Queensland state development officer Charlie Harkness.
“We’ll miss Charlie this year, Hi Charlie, but what a wonderful venue here at Manly, I’ll be back again next year, if I’m picked,” Gerry said.
Every year before the bowls starts, there is a small service to commemorate the work of the ANZACS, 101 years ago this year.
Former Army officer and bowler Alan Thorp laid a wreath and the Last Post was played.
As for the bowls, Gerry Harkins said Defence was looking forward to a good workout against a tough side like the Queensland Chairman’s XII.
“Our big competition later in the year is when the Services play off against each other, so top level practise is important,” Gerry said.
“We love playing the ANZAC Chairman’s XII V Defence Series, it gives us a good workout.”
State Member for Lytton Joan Pease came to officially open the test series and roll the ceremonial first bowl.
“I welcome you to my electorate, it¹s marvelous you have such a representative team of Queenslanders to play Defence in a sport that is open to all, young, old, men, women and bowlers with a disability, I¹m very impressed,” Ms Pease said.
The First Test went Queensland’s way by 10 shots, a good close result over three rinks and 63 ends, 69-59.
The Second Test was an evening game, and it was a cracker, but when Queensland won by just one shot, 61-60, they clinched the Series.
“Who would have thought of all the bowls put down tonight by all those people, the Series would come down to just one shot…” Chairman’s XII’s Chrissie Pavlov said.
“One shot…having a beer last night, you think of all the shots you could have played…” Gerry Harkins said.
Defence were looking for a silver lining to ease their disappointment and they found one, they worked out the two Sides were even on game wins to date over the three years of test series.
If they couldn’t win the 2016 Series…at least they could win the Third Test and claim a moral victory by tipping the game balance in their favour!
“It’s a different mindset, it’s the way they’ve been trained from early on, they have so much focus and discipline, there’ll be no dead rubber in the third test, they’ll be out to win,” Bowls Queensland chairman and former Navy man Peter Williamson said.
The second day of the series (Sun April 24) dawned sunny but windy, great weather for the sailors at Manly but not so much the bowlers.
However nobody was blaming the weather for the 20-shot win to Queensland in the Third and final test, 79-59, as the morning wore on and the shadow between the two sides lengthened.
“What will we do next year to change things around? Pick a better Side!” Gerry Harkins said.
Manly Bowls Club put on super hospitality for the visit of the Chairman’s XII and Defence bowlers, including a Norm Broadhurst speciality, home-made scones with jam and cream.
The final result was a 3-0 test series to Queensland, but there’ll be no gloating from the Chairman’s XII, who thoroughly enjoyed playing the Defence bowlers.
“It’s always special, playing with great people, against great people,” said first time Chairman’s XII bowler Lindsay Ponting, supported by his state champion triples team mate Nev Jenkins up from South Tweed to have a look at the ANZAC test series.
“I played in the inaugural Series, it’s great to be back again this year, I’ve enjoyed playing,” QLD rep Emma Brown said.
Belmont’s Jacob Nelson was the young gun in the 2016 Chairman’s XII side, just 17 years old, a current state and national U18 champion and already started at Uni doing a Bachelor of Science degree.
“It was another great opportunity to play for my state and against Defence, it was great,” Jacob said.
2016 is the centenary of the battles of the Western Front and Australian and Queensland Blind Bowls president Chris Backstrom has just returned from a visit to the battlefields in France, so he was delighted to be able to play in the ANZAC test series in the year the Western Front conflict is being commemorated.
Sean Ingham got his first chance to play with Chrissie Pavlov, they’re in the same club (Broadbeach) and they’ve been away on state duties together, but they’ve never played in the same rink together.
Lindsay Ponting grew up a few blocks away from the Manly Bowls Club so for him it was nice to come back and see how much everything had changed since he moved to the Gold Coast 16 years ago, in 2000.
In the Series presentation ceremony, state coach and event organiser Bill Cornehls asked ASBA organiser Phil Black to “hand over something he doesn’t want to let go…”
BQ chairman Peter Williamson asked Kerry Flint from Belmont to accept the trophy from outgoing champs ASBA and to take care of it in the year ahead.
“We play all sorts of events, including the Australian Open, but 75 per cent of our bowlers want to play this event,” Phil Black, Navy, said, in closing.
Manly chairman Ian Reed and vice chairman Trevor Musch said it had been a pleasure to host the ANZAC series and they hoped the two sides would be back in 2017.