Bowls Blitz Back In Town 2

by Pieter Harris

The Kardinya Bowling Club will be the place to be when the BWA Bowls Blitz roars back into action this weekend on Sunday 3rd July.

The Eight Franchise managers have been busy putting together their squads and getting their selections into shape over the past month. Each manager was able to retain only two players from last years eight player squad with all other players going back into the draft if they were able to play again.

We take a look at the bottom four franchises from last year to see who they have retained and who they have drafted.

Lindsay Thorn returns as the Manager of the Variety – the Children’s Charity Chargers with renewed vigour this year. Manager Thorn has put together a squad he believes can go all the way and knock the Stars out of the sky. Bill Brandsma (Kalamunda) has been retained and is the ideal captain to lead the Chargers through the 2022 Blitz. Nothing phases Brandsma, so he is the perfect partner for the excitable Thorn. Anthony Williams (Doubleview) has also been retained and adds a lot of flexibility in playing multiple positions and disciplines. Manager Thorn was quick to grab Premier League grand final hero Will Hyatt (Manning) when he was available in the 2022 Blitz Draft. Hyatt will add a lot of strength to the backend and can be slotted to play with anyone in the squad. Mitchell Biglin (South Perth) and Scott O’Brien (Manning) experienced the competition last year and will be very important players, most likely in the front end of most disciplines. Manager Thorn has drafted three players who did not play in last year’s Blitz, the equal most of any squad. However, both Rhett Butler (Sorrento) and women’s state squad member Denise Kelly (Mosman Park) have a wealth of experience in the game of bowls. Both are former State players and add a lot of depth to one of the squads favoured for big things. The young and up-and-coming Ruby Leggett (Manning) will make her debut in the 2022 Blitz. Leggett has recently graduated out of the Under 18 ranks and will be eager to make an early impression in open ranks.

The Liquor Trader Pirates had an up and down 2021 Blitz and returned Manager Helen Stevens has vowed to refloat the ship and make up for 2021. Manager Stevens has retooled the squad with Captain Dave Rankin and together they will bring the team together and cause some damage in 2022. Paul Sinden (Mt Lawley) has also been retained by Manager Stevens and after a successful campaign in metro Pennants last season with Mt Lawley being promoted to Premier League, Sinden will be eager to return the faith shown in him. Through the 2022 Blitz draft, Manager Stevens was able to add a collection of both experience and youthful exuberance. Women’s State Squad member Lisa Brannan (Mt Pleasant) is a super competitor and will definitely add some grunt through the engine room. Men’s State Squad member Shane Loftus (Osborne Park) is no stranger to winning with a number of state titles under his belt, his inclusion in the Pirate’s squad will certainly drive the squad forward and challenge for the top four. Connor Biddle (Osborne Park) was an early selection for Manager Stevens after an outstanding showing for his former team, the BCiB Blitz. Biddle adds both experience and youthful exuberance and is an asset to any squad. Manager Stevens has drafted three players who did not play in the 2021 Blitz. Ruairi Kenyon (Bassendean) has been a very consistent player over his time at Pennant level. Kenyon will be looking to take this opportunity to show that he is capable at a higher level. Kojonup’s Jacinta Zadow has made some big impressions over the past 12 months. A member of the BWA Academy and last season’s runner-up in the Women’s Countryweek Singles, Zadow comes with a lot of big raps from people that should know. Will we see a future star emerge on the greens at the Bowls Blitz? Rounding out the team is John Carter (South Perth). Carter is well known around the traps and has the appetite to succeed, making him an ideal member of a hungry Pirates squad.

Bowls WA CEO Ken Pride is again in charge of the BCiB Blitz. Manager Pride had his wins and losses last year but ultimately too many losses which led to a disappointing ladder position. This year we will see Manager Pride trying to rally the troops early to get some much-needed confidence and to try and get away to a strong start. Captain Scott Walker will take an active role in translating Manager Pride’s message to all the squad members on the green. Can Walker step up above and beyond to lead his squad up the ladder in the 2022 Blitz? Ably at his side will be Laura Merz (Manning), Merz is an outstanding talent, and this team will look to her to produce early results and bind this new squad together. Manager Pride had a strong draft and seemed to have been able to put many of the required pieces together. Men’s State Squad member Brad White (Doubleview) comes into the tournament for the first time but is an outstanding talent. Recognised within his own club for many years for his high level of consistency, White has the opportunity over the next month to push his claims for higher honours. This was just the type of player that Manager Pride needed. Also pushing for state selection in the women’s squad is Lisa Smith (Perth & Tatts). Smith is a genuine front-end gun and will start the ends off strongly in the games she is involved in. Paul Davies (South Perth) was drafted to the Blitz on the backend of his outstanding performances in the 2021 Blitz. Davies was high up in the MVP voting last year and if he can replicate that form, Davies will only enhance the Blitz’s chances. Travis Leahy (Kardinya) was drafted away from the 2021 Pirates and he will certainly add something to the team. A member of the host club in week 1 will certainly not do the team any harm. Manager Pride drafted two squad members who did not play in Blitz 2021. Mark Wunneberg (Darkan) has been a highly thought of country bowler for many years and will be a valuable member of the Blitz Franchise. Wunneberg knows his way around a green at league, zone and country all-star level so stepping up to the 2022 Blitz will be no problems for him. Mark Barrett (Rossmoyne) has been searching for opportunities and Manager Pride has given him his chance. There is no way he will disappoint, and he will add both skill and enthusiasm to the BCiB Blitz team.

The Henselite Enforcers have had a much-needed change to the managing position. When a squad as talented as the Enforcers had last years finish at the bottom of the ladder, the inevitable sacking of the manager was a must. Kyle Mcilroy has taken on the position and started off strongly with his retained players and subsequent draft selections. Shane Knott (Manning) will captain the team with his usual enthusiasm and will lead from the front. Knott has been in fantastic form and will have a take no prisoner attitude which a bottom-placed franchise requires to get up the ladder. Cody Packer (Osborne Park) is a handy partner in crime and he and Knott will work hand in hand to raise the stakes at the 2022 Blitz. A masterstroke of drafting, Manager Mcilroy has partnered Packer with another Packer to make a double Packer attack. Hailey Packer (Manning) is coming off an exceptional season with a Women’s State Singles title to her name. Knowing the competitiveness of both these players, the other teams better look out. The better one Packer goes, the better the other Packer will respond, neither will want to give the other the bragging rights on who played better. Chris Ace-Watson (Mosman Park) was redrafted by Manager Mcilroy and as a member last season, Ace-Watson will also be giving everything to ensure the Enforcers climb the ladder. The ever-reliable Steve Novak (Kardinya) will add something in any position required especially in the skip and third roles. Mark Potente (Kalamunda) has recently joined the BWA Academy and has shown he is a player on the rise. A certain gentleman at Kalamunda has been talking Potente so we hope he has the opportunity to prove the master correct when he comes up against the Chargers. Tim Hyatt (Dudley Park) is no stranger to high-level competition and will be looking to make good on the faith Manager Mcilroy showed him in the draft. Another reason we cannot wait to see the Enforcers v Chargers matchup and a Father v Son grudge match. Callum Alberti (South Perth) comes into the competition as the youngest competitor, but it won’t faze him as he goes into most competitions as the youngest. Fresh from an outstanding State Under 18’s week and being named the Under 18 bowler of the year, Alberti is sure to turn heads.