The inaugural Sunshine State Showdown unfurled in full glory this weekend at the AGL National High-Performance Centre on the Sunshine Coast, with athletes vying for top honours in the TBA18 and TBA21 Cups.
In what would be the last junior event and the second last youth event for season 2023, young rising stars converged to the Sunshine Coast for the dual division nationally ranked event. Growing in popularity, the dual division event attracted 70+ entries, with bowlers competing in one of two cup events.
Tenpin Bowling Australia thanks all bowlers for attending this inaugural event and showcasing excellent skills and sportsmanship throughout. TBA also thanks its partners for the event, such as AGL, New Balance, Belgravia Apparel, BPD Bowling Australia.
The TBA18 Cup Female Division was abuzz with excitement as 16-year-old dynamo from Townsville, Sophie Jones, dazzled her way to the top. Though younger than the renowned Chloe and Lilly, this North Queensland native showcased brilliance that was truly her own.
Freshly chosen for the National Training Squad (NTS18) this year, Sophie’s 2023 tournament season has vindicated this honour. Sophie has had a breakout year, finishing within the top 10 in every 2023 national-ranked event appearance, spanning junior and youth divisions.
Day one ended with Sophie securing a commendable 5th place, boasting a qualification score of 1,634. Leading the charts was Emily Hart from South Australia, who, after nine games, had an impressive 1,718, averaging 190.9.
Come Stage 2, the heat intensified with the top 12 bowlers bowling another four games. Emily Hart maintained her dominance, finishing as the top contender with a 13-game total of 2,539 pins. Close behind was her Asian Junior Championship mate, Emily Hinspeter.
Sophie, however, had a rocky start to Stage 2. Her initial scores were unexpected, but a fierce 218 in the last game secured her a spot in the final eight.
The Sunshine State Showdown finals, with its double elimination format, promised thrill, and it delivered!
Sophie, the seventh seed, started by stunning number two seed Emily Hinspeter with a convincing 213-158 win. Riding this high, Sophie bested Samantha Clifton 197-172 but faced a tight defeat against top seed Emily Hart, 168-164.
Undeterred, Sophie secured her place in the title match, conquering Shanae Key from Victoria with a 154-141 score.
The title match was electric. Sophie had to overcome Emily Hart, not once but twice. And she did! With scores of 209-173 and 188-162, Sophie seized the coveted TBA18 Cup for the female division.
With this win, Sophie Jones stamps her name on her very first nationally ranked title. Emily Hart gracefully settled for second, and Shanae Key clinched third. With all three girls returning to the junior division again next year, the future is bright with such talented bowlers showcased in the division this year.
The TBA18 Cup’s Male Division witnessed the meteoric rise of Ballina’s prodigy, Blake Walsh.
As 2023 unfolds, Walsh has been the name on everyone’s lips, and this tournament reaffirmed why. Sealing his second-ranked event title for the year, Blake’s journey to the top was nothing short of exhilarating.
Throughout the qualifying rounds, Walsh was phenomenal. He averaged an astounding 223.9, solidifying his place as the top qualifier. The momentum didn’t wane in Stage 2. While competitors tried their best to dethrone him, Walsh stood undeterred. Tallying a whopping score of 2,872, he confidently marched into the finals as the top contender.
The early rounds of the finals saw Blake in his element. He showcased his precision and power, dispatching Zane Pirlo with a score of 224-196, and then good mate Jackson Buckingham with an exciting 234-220 game. However, as is the beauty of sport, Blake’s journey wasn’t without challenges. In a dramatic twist, Nicholas Rajkovic handed Walsh his first taste of defeat with a tight 220-202 game, pushing him into the elimination bracket.
But this is where true champions are tested, and Walsh rose to the occasion. The next challenge presented itself in the form of a prodigious 14-year-old, William Zaccaria, from Victoria. Zaccaria’s spirited performance had moments where Walsh seemed cornered, but with unmatched determination, Blake secured his position with a score of 215-192. This victory set the stage for an enthralling title match – a rematch against Nicholas Rajkovic.
With Rajkovic boasting an undefeated streak in the finals, the odds seemed stacked against Walsh. But champions thrive under pressure. The title match was the spectacle every fan had hoped for. Displaying sheer tenacity and skill, Walsh was unstoppable. With a phenomenal back-to-back performance, he conquered Rajkovic with scores of 258-163 and then 259-187.
As the dust settled, Blake Walsh emerged as the champion of the TBA18 Cup Male Division and continues to make the future of bowling shine even brighter with stars like him.
The TBA21 Cup’s Female Division was an intense contest of strategy, skill, and determination. With only eight bowlers entering the fray, the spotlight was even brighter, the stakes even higher. Amid it all, Queenslander Tamika Pettigrew stood tall, scripting an unbeaten finals narrative to clinch the title.
While the roster was small, the talent was immense. Hannah Clark, another gem from Queensland, entered the finals as the top seed. Her stellar performance during qualifications was evident. Bagging an impressive 1,857 pins across nine games and averaging a fantastic 206.3, she had an undeniable edge. Clark was so dominant that she finished a colossal 281 pins ahead of her closest contender, Ellieh Bowman from North Queensland. Just a whisker behind Bowman was Tasmanian Abby George, securing the third spot.
Tamika, however, began her journey in the 4th spot after qualifications, garnering a total of 1,553 and averaging 172.6. Yet, as the finals proved, past scores were mere numbers, and the real game was afoot.
The double-elimination final series was nothing short of electrifying. Tamika began with a heart-stopping win against the fifth seed, Bridget Perkins, 203-202. This set the stage for a showdown with the formidable number-one seed, Hannah Clark. Against all odds, Tamika pulled off a win with a surprisingly low 161-145 score. Her streak didn’t stop there, as she bested Victorian Megan Bramley 183-166, ensuring her place in the title match.
Meanwhile, the journey for number two seed Ellieh Bowman was filled with challenges. After an initial setback against Megan Bramley, Bowman had to carve her path through the elimination bracket. With spectacular performances, including a commendable 235-212 win over top-seed Hannah Clark, Bowman was set for the grand finale.
The title match was here, and with Tamika remaining unbeaten, the pressure was immense. But Pettigrew’s exceptional form was solid, and she clinched the title with a decisive 168-148 win against Bowman.
As the TBA21 Cup Female Division concluded, Tamika Pettigrew’s undefeated run remained the talking point. A true champion emerged, coupled with a friendly reminder that it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.
Amidst fierce competitors, Queenslander Matthew Purser emerged as the shining star of the TBA21 Cup’s male division and clinched his maiden nationally-ranked event title.
From the get-go, Purser’s intent was clear. He was the one to watch at the end of the nine-game qualifying stage. Averaging 215.2, his aggregate stood at 1,937, rightfully earning him the pole position in the finals bracket.
The intensity for a top 8 spot was unmistakable. Established talents like Ryan Chi and Jordan Harrold, both Asian Youth Australian representatives, found themselves sidelined, underlining the tournament’s fierce competitiveness. Victorian Cooper Hillyer and Mackay’s Connor Raines were formidable contenders, finishing as second and third seeds, respectively.
As the final brackets unravelled, Matthew Purser was on fire. From a dominant win against Troy Howell to a nail-biting face-off with Cameron Stein, and a masterclass against the reigning champion Connor Renton, Purser’s ascent to the title match seemed almost predestined.
But Cameron Stein was not one to be subdued. Despite an earlier defeat to Purser, Stein showcased his mettle, charting his way through the elimination bracket with gritty performances. Wins against formidable opponents like Luke Doyle, Cooper Hillyer, and Connor Renton. Already a runner-up at the Sydney Youth Cup, Stein was out to add another feather to his cap.
In an electrifying first game against Purser, Stein showcased his brilliance, winning with a score of 265-190. This forced a decisive rematch. But while Stein’s talent was undeniable, the day belonged to Matthew Purser. Known for his relentless dedication to the sport, Matthew’s love for bowling was evident in every frame.
Purser clinched the title in the third game, outperforming Stein with a score of 270-191 to become the 21st winner of the TBA21 Cup male division.
A unique initiative saw the top three bowlers from each division and event face off in a thrilling three-person baker format team event.
The winners are set to receive a bonus prize of $600 to share.
- Blake Walsh
- Nicholas Rajkovic
- William Zaccaria
- Sophie Jones
- Emily Hart
- Shanae Key
- Matthew Purser
- Cameron Stein
- Connor Renton
- Tamika Pettigrew
- Ellieh Bowman
- Megan Bramley
As with all baker team events, the action was thrilling and every delivery mattered. TBA18 would reign supreme though, winning both events in straight sets.
TBA18 defeated TBA21 (235-194, 167-164)
TBA18 defeated TBA21 (218-181, 245-202)
Rising Star Awards
Thanks to BPD Bowling Australia for sponsoring the event and awarding the following bowlers with bowling balls.
- High Game out of the cut – Blayde Hamilton Christensen 258
- U15 – Lachlan Howse, Bella Westlake & Maverick Gordon
Squad Lucky Lane Draws
Congratulations to the three winners Kohan Davis, Brooklyn Brooks, and Renee Kyte of the squad lucky lane draw. All bowlers in each squad were drawn at random to win a $100 gift voucher from our friends and partners at New Balance and Belgravia Apparel.
Trent McDougall – 278