Dandenong Club entered the Ultimate Bowls Championship (UBC) as a new player on the national lawn bowls scene in 2019. They made a big statement first up by taking out the winner’s cheque of $60,000 in the first of three events to be held this year.
The UBC attracted a total of 24 team entries from around Australia, New Zealand (two) and Asia (two).
Competition was assured of being hot with international super stars like Alex Marshall, Ryan Bester, Al Forsyth and Jeremy Henry, and the cream of the domestic lawn bowls scene that included Australian Commonwealth Games stars such as Aaron Wilson, Aron Sherrif, Aaron Teys.
Dandenong Club was clearly one of the early favourites with Australian Jackaroo Barrie Lester, current World Cup holder Gary Kelly and Aussie bowls legend Wayne Turley on board. Club Coach Rob Wilson managed the team.
A slow start to the competition with just a single win from their first four matches caused some early concerns for Dandenong Club but as the tournament gained momentum they ppeared to become more comfortable with the format.
They won their next eight games to finish second in their section. The finals made up of the competition’s best eight, required three more wins to take out the championship.
The toughest of these matches proved to the first match played against the home club Warilla. It culminated in Kelly who was skipping, pulling off a miracle shot with the games last bowl to score 18 points and a place in the semi-final. When Dandenong Club followed up with solid wins against Wellington and Streaky Bay they were UBC Champions.
Whilst Barrie Lester and Gary Kelly played out the final series, Wayne Turley’s contribution can’t be overlooked. He was an extremely solid contributor after the early losses and at the end of the championship Dandenong Club’s only unbeaten player.
The UBC is the most lucrative bowls event in the world, with a record prize pool of $500,000, as well as a broadcast package that will showcase the game through 22 countries around the world.
It is a pairs event; however, all teams have three players who rotate during each event. The format of the UBC appeals to both the bowls enthusiasts, and to people who enjoy watching sport at its best in a fast-paced, exciting event.
One of the UBC’s most exciting features is its dynamic and innovative scoring system. Players can score points with every bowl that is played. A ‘toucher’ earns their team 3 points, as will holding the shot when the leads have finished their bowls.
Both teams have the opportunity to earn points on the same end; 10 points for the closest bowl, 5 points for the second-closest and 3 points for the third-closest.
This equates to a fantastic event, exciting to play and entertaining to watch! The Championship moves on to Deer Park next, with play scheduled for August 15 and 16.