by Aaron Delaporte

Sunday 5th June, 2022

The Bowls WA Awards Night Dinner was held at the Royal Perth Golf Club on Friday 3rd June with 170 people in attendance as the best performers on and off the green were recognised for the 2021/2022 season.

The voice of bowls Clive “Rinkside Live” Adams was back in the MC role hosting the presentations and interviewing the winners of the respective awards through-out the evening.

Bowls WA President Doug Kelly welcomed the packed room whilst reflecting on what had been another challenging but rewarding year for the sport. He also made special mention on the passing of previous President Larry Bandy and his great contribution to Bowls WA along with recognising the various contributions made by those in room which included Sponsors, Board members and staff, committee members, club representatives, volunteers, coaches, officials and players.

Geoff Baker MLA South Perth was the special guest for the evening who made mention of the importance of bowls clubs and the sport of bowls to the community within WA along with the state governments continued commitment to funding through grants for clubs which helped improve facilities within clubs, Geoff later came back to the stage to help present the Metropolitan Club of the Year Awards.

The highlight of the evening was the induction of Kathy Gobbart into the Bowls WA Hall of Fame, the 39th person to receive this honour. Over a long and illustrious career Kathy had won numerous major titles and represented WA including being part of the Australian Side Series Champions team in 2011. Kathy showed in the recent season she is still a big force on the green winning the Women’s Country Week Singles and the Champion of Club Champions Singles. She was also presented with the Penny Needham Brooch as Women’s Country Bowler of the Year, which is now the sixth time she has won it.

In possibly the biggest spread ever at an Awards dinner, thirteen different clubs were either recognised or had individuals who claimed awards. This included Patsy Smith from Halls Head who claimed the inaugural Club Official of the Year Award, Marilyn Bradbury from Merriwa AFA Club Coach of the Year and Carol Lee at Victoria Park Carlisle with Volunteer of the Year in what was undoubtedly the toughest category to judge with many excellent nominations put forward.

David Downey and Hailey Packer both from Manning Bowling Club were presented with their respective Presidents medal and brooch on the night for winning the blue-ribbon Championship State Singles.

It was no surprise to then see Manning announced as Club of the Year having won both Men’s and Women’s Premier League titles there on green achievements were exceptional however the club also continues to work hard on many aspects off the green which no doubt contribute to their success.

Mt Lawley who returns to Premier League some sixty years after previous being there were celebrated as the Small Metropolitan Club of the Year, the club achieve a remarkable seven pennant promotions plus were extremely active off the green, their lighting project was recognised by President Terry Conley who stole the fashion stakes wearing a bright pink jacket which represents the legacy of a life member of the club whom he honoured on the night.

Brookton and Gingin Bowling Clubs were recognised as the top country clubs for the season with Emu Point’s Matthew Mitchell the Men’s Country Bowler of the Year whilst Blake Nairn won his second Rosenthal Medal with another outstanding season.

Mosman Park’s Lisa Featherby took her first Women’s Bowler of the Year title in what was a superb season in which she played in the finals of six major events. Some great recognition for Lisa after plenty of hard work to achieve these results.

In summary from all the acceptance speeches and comments made on the night it was clear to note that bowls still really is a community sport where clubs rely heavily on the teamwork and willingness of their volunteer members to pitch in and contribute to the success whilst many individuals rely on the support of teammates and their clubs. In addition, its family loved ones who often make sacrifices so that those with a passion for the sport can play or contribute within their clubs as many award winners recognised the significance of those people who were specially thanked for the enormous support they play. Congratulations once again to all our winners on their achievements throughout the 2021-22 season.

Further stories regarding all the award winners will be published on the Bowls WA Website in coming weeks and photos from the Awards Night will be available on the Bowls WA Facebook Page shortly.

A full list of the award winners

Under 18 Bowler of the Year
Callum Alberti (South Perth)

Bowls WA Club Coach of the Year
Marilyn Bradbury (Merriwa AFA)

Male Over 60s Bowler of the Year (Trevor Barron Award)
Bruce Eagles (Sorrento)

Female Over 60s Bowler of the Year (Norma Samuel Award)
Kerry Andersen (Mosman Park)

Bowls WA Volunteer of the Year
Carol Lee (Victoria Park Carlisle)

Bowls WA Official of the Year
Patsy Smith (Halls Head)

Bowls WA Small Country Club of the Year
Brookton Bowling Club

Bowls WA Country Club of the Year (Jim Murray Award)
Gingin Bowling Club

Female Country Bowler of the Year (Penny Needham Award)
Kathy Gobbart (Gingin)

Male Country Bowler of the Year (Vice Patron’s Award)
Matthew Mitchell (Emu Point)

Bowls WA Small Metropolitan Club of the Year
Mt Lawley Bowling Club

Bowls WA Metropolitan Club of the Year
Manning Memorial Bowling Club

Female Bowler of the Year (Connie Hicks Brooch)
Lisa Featherby (Mosman Park)

Male Bowler of the Year (Rosenthal Medal)
Blake Nairn (Cambridge)