Armed Sandgropers v Mundaring Sports Club – A fight for the Shield

by Denise McMillan

2021 has been full of ups and downs – while WAs armed bowlers were able to compete in the State Championships held at Warnbro in May, the upcoming National Bowling Arm Side Series has been cancelled due to increased Covid-19 cases across the eastern states.

This is the second subsequent year that the National event has been cancelled.  WA will be keen to revive the inter-state challenges in 2022 with the event rescheduled to be held at Warnbro Bowling Club from September 5th to 9th.

The selection and practice timeline for the Sandgroper Side includes a rivalry Shield … Mundaring Club Members v Sandgroper Arm Side … Triples in the morning and Pairs in the afternoon.  This is the last scheduled event prior to the Sandgropers competing in the National Bowling Arm Side Series.

2021 Selected Sandgroper Bowling Arm State Side

Back Row L-R: Kim Ward (Binningup), Bill Taylor (Safety Bay), Maurice Buckingham (Gosnells), Jamie Parker (Collie), Geoff Whyatt (Eaton), Roy Jones (Port Bouvard), Gary Giblett (Bunbury), John Lysaght (Halls Head), Ashley Armstrong (Bunbury)
Front Row L-R: Allan Axton (Mandurah), Maurice Crabb (Gosnells), Jeff Eaton (Geraldton), Judy Stein (Mundaring), Kerry Ward (Eaton), Laurie Blurton (Eaton), Gail Ecclestone (Bunbury), Gary Moore (Yunderup), Kevin Lynch (Safety Bay)

Sandgropers won the Shield in 2018 and 2019 and 2020 was cancelled due to Covid restrictions.  Despite the 2021 Nationals cancellation, the Shield event was still run to celebrate Side Selection. 

The Sandgropers once again won this event with a 5-point win in the triples and a hefty 70-point positive in the Pairs – something to review in the teams strategic planning!

A great big THANK YOU to the Mundaring Side and Club for hosting this fun and competitive event … the Shield will now be sent to Warnbro, home of the Sandgropers, to reside in the Shield Cabinet.

(L) Laurie Blurton (Sandgroper Coordinator) accepting the 2021 Shield from (R) Lindsay Pickles (Mundaring Bowling Club President)

Laurie Blurton, Sandgroper Arm Coordinator, accepting the 2021 Shield – presented by Mundaring Sporting Club President Lindsay Pickles – many thanks to Lindsay for expertly running this event and all of the club volunteers who helped on the day including a delicious lunch!

A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA …

Bowls WA use the term “Bowls is a Sport for All” as players can range from the young to old.  Many players evolve with the sport and continue playing until their bodies have aches and pains that limit their abilities. 

It is the invention of the bowling arm that has helped thousands of bowlers keep playing the sport they love … and not just playing the sport, but also managing the sport behind the scenes at club level and higher.  Players that have put years of volunteering in can sometimes earn the rank of ‘Life Member’ at clubs.  This ranking is limited in numbers and extremely hard to earn – it exemplifies a members outstanding commitment to the club, its venue, and its players.

In an interesting twist that reflects the commitments of the Sandgropers State Side, four of the eighteen 2021 state side selections have earned the status of Life Members – I believe this reflects extremely well on the value of its members within the sport. 

Sandgroper 2021 State Side who have achieved Life Member status:

Laurie Blurton, Bunbury (Player)

Maurice Crabb, Gosnells (Player)

Jeff Eaton, Geraldton (Player)

John Doncon, Mundaring (Coach)

It is disappointing that the 2021 National Bowling Arm Side Series has been cancelled; however, we look forward to hosting next year’s event.  In the meantime, armed bowlers should keep an eye out for upcoming new arm bowler events being held in country and metro areas.  Congratulations to all players who competed in the Mundaring v Sandgroper Shield.

Denise McMillan, Bowls WA, Inclusion Officer