Victoria has been crowned the 59th Walter Rachuig Trophy Tournament champions at the 2021 Australian National Championship.
A dominating performance by a star-studded Victorian team helped steer the state to a convincing win in the overall point score race claiming the Trish Datson trophy. The host state, Tasmania, would finish in second place ahead of South Australia who received the bronze medals for the overall team division.
- Walter Rachuig Trophy Tournament 2021 Final Placings
- Walter Rachuig Trophy Tournament 2021 Team Scores
- Walter Rachuig Trophy Tournament 2021 Individual Scores
Like most things in life in the past two years, the famous tournament was a little different to the running of past years. For the first time in the events 59-year history, the draw would be combined instead of only having teams bowl against their own genders in isolation. With the Women’s competition only having three teams, tournament organisers adapted to the circumstances tweaking the draw for all teams of both genders bowling against each other twice in the three-day competition.
A female champion team would still be crowned, but the combined draw would provide variety in opponents for the women and not only a chance to show the men how it’s done but for all to bowl together in these unique times. For a sport that prides itself on inclusion, the format change for many in attendance was a welcoming and exciting challenge.
The continued challenges of COVID restrictions placed on many teams to travel to this year’s event have seen the need for constant flexibility by the Strike 3 Bowling team and Tenpin Bowling Australia. Again, like all things in life, the fluid nature of the circumstances requires thinking outside the box to carry on and enjoy what we love, to the best we can.
For those unaware of what Rachuig is, the Walter Rachuig Trophy Tournament was established in December 1963, recognising the work performed by Walter A Rachuig, a Director of the American Bowling Congress, in guiding the establishment of the Australian National Sporting Organisation in the early sixties.
The tournament’s purpose is to determine the best state or territory representative team of Tenpin Bowlers annually, each consisting of five players per team. The five-person team format sees teams opposed against each other, striving for points for their state or territory over three days. A maximum of seven points is up for grabs in each game, with one point awarded for a win in the individual battles they oppose and two bonus points awarded to the team with the highest pinfall for the match.
As day one got underway, it didn’t take long for the women to prove they were not to be taken lightly, with the Victorian ladies team leading the way.
The 2021 Women’s team from Victoria was stacked full of talent. Bek Martin, Bec Whiting, Sisters Kaitlyn and Rebekah Commane, Dena Buxton and Jamie-Lee Spiller. All six members are part of the Women’s National Training Squad and have represented the country in international competitions. The star-studded team didn’t take long to show they could mix it with anyone.
On day one, their first opponent would be their Victorian men’s team in match one. The ladies won the battle five points to two. Three of the five would win their one-on-one games, with Rebekah Martin leading the way with a 278 winning game over Lachlan Mckiernan. The team would also win the pinfall battle 1,104 to 1,096.
Day one saw the Vic ladies go 5-1 in their six matchups. They would go on to defeat four men’s teams on the first day, and their one loss would come against the South Australian ladies two points to five.
Over the three days of competition, the Victorian ladies would finish with an 11-7 overall record in their matchups, collecting 84 total points and finishing with a pinfall of 18,962 over their 18 games.
Tasmania would finish in second place on 38 points in front of South Australia in third place with 35.5 points.
Final Team Results
Top 5 Individual Performances:
- Bek Martin (VIC) – (10-6-0) 62.5%. High Game – 278, Pinfall – 3,467 Average 216.7
- Bec Whiting (VIC) – (12-4-0) 75%. High Game of 265, Pinfall 3,421, Average 213.8
- Chloe Jones (QLD) – (13-5-0)72.2%. High Game of 246. Pinfall 3,826. Average of 212.6
- Kaitlyn Commane (VIC) – (7-8-0) 46.7%. – High Game – 289. Pinfall-3,183. Average of 212.2
- Rebekah Commane (VIC) – (11-5-0) 68.8%. High Game – 245. Pinfall of 3,394. Average of 212.1
The outcome of the men’s division was determined by the 18th and final game of competition, not by total points but total pinfall.
Cruelled by their state entering a lockdown days before the competition began, Queensland was without a women’s team and many of their rostered men in attendance. Still, Queensland had enough bowlers to form a squad for the competition with Classic Cup champion and NTS member Chloe Jones who was initially rostered for the women’s team, in Tasmania and able to join the men’s team.
The Queensland team would dramatically win the men’s division in the final game of the competition.
Leading into the 18th and final game of Rachuig in 2021, Victoria held a 4.5 point lead over the WA Invitational team and a 5.5 point lead over a third-place Queensland. The final game would see Queensland scheduled to bowl against the Victorian leaders.
After winning five points to two in their first encounter on day two, the maroons felt confident that history could repeat. The Maroons would win six points to one in the final game, with the total pinfall between the two in the last match being 74 pins. The result providing a tie with the points as both teams would finish with 86.5 points. When a points tie exists, total pinfall is what determines the final placings.
Queensland would have 50 pins over Victoria, meaning the maroons were announced as the 2021 Rachuig men’s division champions. The WA Invitational team would be defeated by the Tasmanian men’s team 3 points to 4, meaning they would drop down to the bronze medallists.
Congratulations to Chloe Jones who made history! For the first time in Walter Rachuig a team had won the Men’s Division with a woman bowler on their team. Chloe Jones made the big shots when it was all on the line and thoroughly deserved to be holding the trophy that no woman before her has held.
Final Men’s Team Results
- Queensland Men’s Team Final Results
- Victoria Men’s Team Final Results
- WA Invitational Men’s Team Final Results
- Tasmania Men’s Team Final Results
- South Australia Men’s Team Final Results
- Northern Territory Men’s Team Final Results
Top 5 Individual Performances
- Andrew McCarthur (NT) – (14-4-0) 77.8%. High Game – 300. Pinfall – 4,229. Average 234.9
- Morty Douglass (QLD) – (12-6-0) 66.7%. High Game 286. Pinfall – 4,204. Average 233.6
- Matt Clague (QLD) – (10-8-0) 55.6%. High Game 279. Pinfall- 4,075. Average 226.4
- Lachlan Mckiernan (VIC) – (13-5-0) 72.2%. High Game 277. Pinfall- 4,062. Average 225.7
- Adam Hayes (VIC) – (12-4-0) 75%. High Game 279. Pinfall of 3,579. Average 223.7
Congratulations to Northern Territories Andrew McCarthur who threw a 300 game on day two of Rachuig.
Congratulations to all bowlers in this years Walter Rachuig Trophy Tournament. An outstanding effort to press on and enjoy bowling at the highest level in 2021.