Class of 2018 honoured at annual Awards Night

by admin on October 25, 2018

Queensland had six representatives secure accolades at the 8th Annual Bowls Australia Awards Night. (Pictured left: Rockhampton Bowls Club president Peter Tyler winner of the Stockland Retirement Living Club of the Year award.)

Story by Bowls Australia

Bowls Australia (BA) staged its eighth annual Awards Night tonight, at Mantra on View, on Surfers Paradise yesterday evening, with the sport’s most deserving athletes, administrators, clubs and officials recognised for their outstanding contribution over the past 12 months.

Award winners were crowned for 11 categories, including the prestigious International Bowler, Male Bowler and Female Bowler of the year categories.

Queensland had six representatives secure awards on the night.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and finalists.

Volunteer of the Year

Geoff O’Meagher (Club Helensvale, QLD)

Geoff is a prized member of the Club Helensvale family and is highly regarded as their go-to operator when it comes to major events.

From the Australian Open, to the club’s prestigious 5-A-Side event, to the running of Jack Attack programs, Geoff oversees all club events and championships as chief volunteer.

Whether it be inputting results, marking games, collecting cards, tidying the grounds, pulling the sun shades back or returning the scoreboards back to their correct positions, Geoff does it all.

He has also assisted the local Gold Coast-Tweed District in providing commentary to their live-streamed events.

A 12-year member of the club, Geoff has instilled a great culture and is progress-driven, a big reason behind Club Helensvale’s flourishing success.

City of Gold Coast Coach of the Year 

Kelvin Kerkow (Tweed Heads, QLD)

Kelvin Kerkow OAM played a vital role in helping Australia to glory on the world stage, in his capacity as Coach of the para-sport team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Kerkow played a huge role in the off-green selection and on-green development of all BCiB Australian Jackaroos players chosen to compete at the Commonwealth Games, and specifically was instrumental in the success of the two para-sport disciplines.

Significantly, two of the nation’s five gold medals came via the two para-sport events, with our vision-impaired pairs and bowlers with a disability open triples producing two remarkable campaigns, breaking records in the process.

Kerkow was able to get the best out of his charges, which aided Lynne Seymour (67) and Ken Hanson (68) to set the record as the two oldest Australian Commonwealth Games gold medallists in history, in any sport.

Stockland Retirement Living Club of the Year

Rockhampton Bowls Club (QLD)

Rockhampton prides itself on its ability to conduct its business affairs in a very robust and documented fashion, allowing for a seamless running of the club off the green which in turn has resulted in prosperity on the green.

Well aware that it, like most other clubs, is run solely using volunteers, the club has strived to ensure its policies and procedures are most up-to-date and their communication with members is highly-regarded.

The club has a solid financial base and its long-term viability underpins its fiscal model, always striving for growth.

Following a downturn in membership, the club is again experiencing an increase in membership thanks to a number of initiatives.

Members have emerged from Jack Attack, Twilight Bowls and Barefoot Bowls, while a number of high schools/colleges in the area have been targeted in a bid to attract a new demographic.

The club has also targeted a number of demographics foreign to the sport, including a partnership with JBS Meatworks with 180 foreign and 320 Australian workers set to try bowls for the first time at the club.

Consistently striving to involve itself in all domains of the community, the Rockhampton Bowls Club has emerged from a club struggling with membership to now, a forward-thinking, process-driven hub of the community with people from all walks of life stepping onto their greens.

Bowler with a Disability of the Year

Jake Fehlberg (Burleigh Heads, QLD)

At just 24 years of age, Jake has truly cemented himself as one of Australia’s finest para-sport bowlers in 2018.

A gold medal in his debut Commonwealth Games with Lynne Seymour to go with the Vision-Impaired Singles crown at the 2018 Australian Open, the Broadbeach Bowls Club played host to some incredibly special memories for Jake and Director/Dad extraordinaire, Grant.

Jake also produced some exceptional results in the 2018 National Blind Bowls Championships, collecting gold in the B3 Mixed Pairs as well as silver in both the B3 Men’s Singles and Open Pairs.

He was also a member of the para-squad that tackled New Zealand late last year in the Trans Tasman series, where he lead the team to eight wins from nine matches and a 3-0 series clean-sweep.

BCiB Insurance Brokers Under-18 Female Bowler of the Year

Jessie Cottell (Club Helensvale, QLD)

Another incredibly exciting product to come out of Club Helensvale, Jessie capped off an outstanding 12 months with victory in the 2018 Australian Open Under-18 Girls’ Singles and selection in the Emerging Jackaroos squad.

She was a member of the Queensland team that took out the overall prize at the 2017 Australian Under-18 Championships, winning gold in the Girls’ Pairs discipline along the way.

Jessie has enjoyed a strong rise up the National Rankings to sit inside the Top 25 (at the time of print), no doubt spurred on by her entrance into the Open-Age ranks, where she has debuted for both the Queensland Ladies Open team and Queensland Open team for the 2018 Australian Sides Championships.

Mentored closely by Sue McKenzie, a constant supporter for her throughout her short but distinguished bowls career to date, Jessie can also boast her triple gold-medal winning performance (Pairs, Triples & Fours) at the Queensland Junior Championships.

Australian Sports Commission International Bowler of the Year

Brett Wilkie (Club Helensvale, QLD)

BCiB Australian Jackaroos stalwart Brett Wilkie enjoyed a scintillating conclusion to his nine-year international career in 2018, with both international events contested during the eligibility period played in his home city, the Gold Coast.

Wilkie was undoubtedly the most dominant player for the green and gold contingent during the Trans Tasman Test Series, staged at Broadbeach in November 2017, where he helped the BCiB Jackaroos retain the Senior Men’s Trophy, and as a result, was rewarded with the lion’s share of votes from his BCiB Jackaroos peers.

Wilkie secured 32 out of 120 total votes during the Trans Tasman, eight clear of the next best performer, and 22 more than the third highest achiever.

At the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Wilkie secured a silver medal in the men’s fours discipline, alongside three of his closest friends and teammates, before bowing out of further international representation to pursue his career at the helm of the sport in his state, as CEO of Bowls Queensland.

Wilkie will be forever etched in the sport’s annals, as one of Australia’s highest achievers, with more than 240 appearances to his name and a swag of medallions of all varieties collected over the journey.

To view the full awards list head to the Bowls Australia announcement, by clicking here.