Written by NSW Regional Bowling Tour
The New South Wales Regional Bowling Tour is set to return bigger than ever in 2020 with the first event being held at Gosford City Bowl on Sunday the 19th of January.
Within 24 hours of the entry form being released prior to Christmas, the event was full and had to be extended to accommodate more entries, currently there are over 50 bowlers registered to take part in the doubles event this weekend.
The series organising committee have released the full 2020 calendar of events with the series featuring 9 events across NSW as well as expanding over the borders into the ACT and Victoria. To keep up to date with all the events throughout the year, be sure to follow the NSW Regional Bowling Tour on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/nswrbt.
The NSWRBT series is coming into its 6th year after being started in 2015, the series was inspired by the success of the QLD Border Runners series when Jay Palmer relocated to NSW and saw the need for more regional based events. Palmer set to work creating the series using both established and new events across the state. Over the years, more volunteers have offered their time towards the planning and running of the series to continue offering a structured tour of regional events to all bowlers in and surrounding NSW.
Success of the 2019 series
The tour continues to grow on the back of a successful year comprising of 7 events in 2019. Throughout the year, 153 individual competitors took part resulting in over 1,000 entries, with events spanning across NSW as far north as Kempsey, down to the south coast in Shellharbour and across to the west for one of the highest participated events of the year in Orange. The Windsor and Wetherill Park “City” based events saw very strong participation numbers, while the remaining events in Gosford and Raymond Terrace rounded out the series.
2019 in review – 7 events and 7 champions
The 2019 series kicked off with 2 ACT bowlers showing the territories strength with Drew Charlton and 2020 NTS member Robert Townsend facing off in the finals of the Windsor Open. In a best of out 3 head to head match, Charlton got out to an early lead with a 225-191 win in game 1, Townsend then fought back in game 2 with a 258-222 victory to force a 3rd game where he again came out in front with 224-193 to secure the first event of the year.
Event 2 saw the 32nd running of the Orange Open which attracted 60 bowlers to the home centre of world number 1 Jason “Belmo” Belmonte. With Belmo unable to compete in 2019, the field was wide open and featured many previous winners including Queenslander George Frilingos, home town favourite Jason Osborne and 2015 event winner Scott Robertson. In the marathon style 20 game total pinfall event, it was Robertson who came out in front to secure his 2nd Orange Open title.
The series then travelled to the South Coast Open at Shellharbour Tenpin Bowl, the home centre of 2018 World Cup Champion Sam Cooley. Cooley who travelled overseas extensively in 2019 was able to take advantage of his time at home and was too strong for all other competitors securing the win over the 17 games with a lead of more than 400 pins.
The halfway point of the year was the first trip north of Sydney to Gosford for the Central Coast Cup. The event finals consisted of a 32 bowler double elimination format where everyone was in with a chance of winning. While all eyes were on James Shewring who managed to roll a perfect 300 game during qualifying, it was Alex Ponomarev who managed to work his way through to the final as the undefeated champion. Ponomarev was able to secure the win in the final match with a 2 game victory of 389-368 over Victorian Robert Kendall.
Continuing to move north, the next event was the 1 day sprint in the hunter valley at Strikezone Raymond Terrace. After 8 games qualifying the top 5 progressed to the finals, while a desperado squad allowed all other competitors to fight in out in a 1 game all or nothing roll off. Ryan Burton managed to score an impressive 254 to secure the last place in the finals. As the top 6 worked their way down to the final 2, it was David Christensen and Adrian Stokes in the final which saw Christensen secure his first win in the series.
Event 6 returned to Sydney with the Western Sydney Cup at Bowlarama Wetherill Park. South Coast Open winner Sam Cooley led qualifying and looked to secure his 2nd win of the year in the series, however in the top 3 stepladder final it was James Sitters who managed to take on 2nd place qualifier Vince Romeo, then move on and defeat Cooley in the final to claim the victory.
Coming into the final event of the year, bowlers travelled in difficult conditions due to bush fires in the area to support the small country town event in Kempsey, the Luke Fowler Memorial Open. The last event of 2019 would pave the way to determine the series winner with David Christensen, James Sitters and Trent Cage all able to secure the series with a strong performance in the last event. With Cage unable to compete and Sitters forced to withdraw due to injury, it was up to Christensen to secure a top 3 finish in order to become the 2019 NSWRBT rankings winner.
Qualifying in Kempsey was dominated by Rowan Chapman and Simon Millman who both received a bye in the first round of the finals. The first match of the elimination final saw ACT bowler Michael Craig progress defeating Alex Sole, while the second match had Christensen’s hopes still alive with a win against home town favourite James Roods. In the next round Craig managed to defeat 2nd seed Millman to move onto the championship match, while in a low scoring match Christensen defeated top qualifier Chapman to secure the series rankings for 2019. In the championship match, now 2019 rankings winner Christensen was unable to keep up with Craig who secured his first win on the tour in the 2 game match of 412-351.
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The first event for 2020 – Central Coast Sprint Doubles starts this weekend at Gosford and results can be found here