Navy bowls - nail biting stuff

Published on CPO Noleen Brennan (author), POIS Phil Cullinan (photographer)

Location(s): Forster, New South Wales

Leading Seaman Medic Robert Dixon posted to HMAS Cerberus delivers the winning bowl to win the RAN Lawn Bowls Association Singles Final at Forster Bowling Club, NSW, 28th May 2015. (photo: POIS Phillip
Leading Seaman Medic Robert Dixon posted to HMAS Cerberus delivers the winning bowl to win the RAN Lawn Bowls Association Singles Final at Forster Bowling Club, NSW, 28th May 2015.

The Royal Australian Navy Lawn Bowls Association held their annual championships at the Forster Bowls Club, New South Wales, in the last week of May. Members came from all ships and establishments to compete, and although numbers were low in comparison to previous years it didn’t hinder the fierce competition.

This is the 11th year of running the championships and standard of bowler attending is improving as each year passes. This year saw a mix of novice to accomplished bowlers that made for an outstanding week of bowling, with all eyes on the prize of being crowned the Navy’s top bowler.

The locals at Forster enjoy coming to watch the Navy when we are in town each year and always want to help in any way they can during the competition.

One of the highlights for the home side is the chance to play the Navy in a challenge match. This year the Navy defeated Forster, for the second year running (75/68). 

Forster Club Management team member, Mr Ian Crombie, said the game was played in good spirits and a lot of fun was had by all. 

"It is just amazing how much interest is generated within the community when the Navy is in town and the locals are talking about it long after the Navy has left," he said.

The 24 participants of the 2015 RAN Lawn Bowls Association (RANLBA) Championships Held at Forster, NSW.

The 24 participants of the 2015 RAN Lawn Bowls Association (RANLBA) Championships Held at Forster, NSW.

The format for the two events contested at the championships were singles and pairs. Both were sectional play for positions to progress into the playoff rounds. Leading Seaman Robbie Dixon was crowned 2015 Navy Champion when he defeated Chief Petty Officer Murray Piggott (31/11). The minor singles title was won by Able Seaman Jason Wilson, who defeated Warrant Officer Robert Bohm (31/21). The Plate winner was Petty Officer Phillip Hunt, who defeated Able Seaman Jamie Turner (31/26). The title for the pairs champions went to Lieutenant Commander Peter Hudson and Able Seaman Jamie Turner (skip) when they defeated Able Seaman Julian Richards and Leading Seaman Steve Patterson (skip) (18/12).

All the final matches drew big crowds and in some cases it was nail biting stuff for not only the players, but those spectators who were on the edge of their seats with every bowl that was delivered. 

The championships were the brain child of retired Warrant Officer Dave Adams in 2005. He orchestrated a five year plan to raise the standard of bowls amongst Navy members so as they had a better chance of taking out the coveted prize at the national level against the Army and the Air Force. His vision finally came to reality when the Navy side first took out the title in 2010 and has since become the force to beat.

The championships give players of all levels the best foundation in order to go on to play at the national level, it also fosters camaraderie and mateship which makes for a stronger team.