After a COVID-19 interrupted season in 2020, the sixth season of the ‘Great Bowls Challenge’ kicked off on the Sunshine Coast last weekend with 97 teams from 26 clubs competing.
The idea was the brainchild of Buderim Bowls Club president Darren Colburn who wanted to provide Sunshine Coast clubs with a competitive summer competition without excessive travel. The current guidelines aim to limit travel to one hour or less.
In 2016, the event commenced with 24 teams with eight players competing in a two pairs and one fours format, hence, the nickname Great 8’s.
The competition has three divisions for both men and women and plays over six weekends at various clubs. The final will be held at Mooloolaba on March 28.
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The Great Bowls Challenge is a not-for-profit competition with all money raised going back to clubs in prizemoney.
Currently, 75% of team entries are paid back to the club in rink wins. When a club wins a rink, they receive $50 with $150 up for grabs in each game.
The remaining 25% and sponsorship money goes in the finals’ purse. This money is then shared among the teams that qualify for the finals. The winning teams from each division take home around $2000, plus their rink wins.
This year also saw the Brisbane Region join the competition with 16 clubs providing 44 teams.
We were incredibly happy with this result and we believe the competition will grow in numbers again next year when the word of mouth gets among the bowlers.
It is comforting knowing that the overall competition has grown from 72 to 1128 bowlers playing on various greens each weekend. Hopefully, next year we will reach the 1500 mark.
Barry Ashby (pictured) is district secretary of the Sunshine Coast Bowls Association and a leading Australian bowls official. His column will appear each Tuesday in sunshinecoastnews.com.au featuring bowls news and results.