Tamika Pettigrew and Blake Walsh secured the first junior ranked event titles on offer for 2022 after being crowned champions of the Queensland Junior Cup (QJC) at Coolangatta Tweed Tenpin on Monday.
The QJC continues to go from strength to strength as one of four calendar junior-ranked events. The junior showcase event reminds people that the sport’s future is in good hands with so many emerging talented bowlers on display.
With several events hosted in conjunction with the QJC at the same venue, there is no lack of initiatives and opportunities for participants to get involved. This year the event had equal prize money for both males and females, a graded competition and a newly introduced under 21 SQ Challenge.
Tournament Director Nathan Stein was pleased to see yet another successful event completed after what has been a challenging past few years.
“The highlight for me was getting everybody on the lanes back from every state,” said Stein.
“It was so good to get people from WA, ACT, and even New Zealand here this year.
“We love hosting the event. Everything we do is focusing on what the kids want, to make it enjoyable and create a great atmosphere,” added Stein.
Following an impressive showing at last year’s Australian National Championship (ANC) President’s Shield and TBA21 competition, Tamika Pettigrew finished fourth in the junior rankings for 2021. If this weekend’s performance is anything to go by, the Mt Warren Lanes and Logan City Tenpin bowler will be a consistent contender in 2022.
South Australian and fellow National Training Squad (NTS) 18 member Emily Hart was the leading qualifier after posting 2,322 pins over the first stage. Pettigrew would finish 103 pins behind the leader in fourth place after qualifying but made her move in the second stage.
Shooting 981 over five games in stage two, Pettigrew would jump up the standings to second place. Still trailing by 67 pins to leader Emily Hart, Pettigrew would have the matchplay round to make ground with bonus pins of 30 applied to victories in the concluding stage.
Pettigrew had four victories from five matches in a blistering matchplay round to claim her first national ranked title of her short career. A 22-game total of 4,393 from Pettigrew made the Queenslander finish an astonishing 276 pins ahead of Emily Hart, who began the stage 67 pins in the front.
“It was challenging at times but going through all my gear and figuring out what worked best was key to winning,” said Pettigrew. “Making sure I was going up the back of the ball, keeping it tight and not going out wide all helped”.
Spare shooting is one of Pettigrew’s strengths on the lanes, and it helped once again on the weekend when carry was difficult.
“It helps because I was struggling at times to get the strikes, but I kept picking up the ten pins, which was a big thing,” explained Pettigrew. Finishing in second place was Emily Hart. The South Australian had a tough finals day following an impressive qualifying score. Victorian Shanae Key rounded out the podium, who finished in her highest position yet at a ranked event on 4,074 pins.
Tamika now looks toward the Sydney Youth Cup and returning to the ANC in Tasmania in July.
After winning his first ranked event at the QJC last year, 16-year-old Blake Walsh returned to defend his crown in 2022.
Following several impressive performances in Open age events that far surpassed his young age, Walsh was the leading contender for good reason, and as much as bowlers tried, there was no stopping him on his way to back-to-back titles.
Leading at the conclusion of all event stages, Walsh finished on a whopping 4,800 pins over his 22 games, collecting 120 bonus pins from the matchplay round, winning all but one game in the stage.
An average of 212.7 for the event, Blake becomes the third boy to win back-to-back titles in the event’s eight-year history with Matt Clague (2015-2016) and Nixon Chan (2018 and 2019) the other victors.
The victory for Walsh is very special to the rising star. After a challenging period off the lanes, Walsh was happy with the win and the other benefits received from tournament bowling.
“The win means a lot coming out of having our house flooded, having COVID, it’s been a bad couple of months, “explained Walsh.
“I love bowling. I’ve grown up in the bowl; it’s the career path I wanted to do from a very early age; bowling for me is not the sport, it’s life- it’s the people you meet, the social aspect.
“I love meeting new people, talking on the lanes, obviously winning is great as well and coming out from a tough couple of months, it means a lot to win this one,” added Walsh.
Never one to have much time off, Blake will now head to the Logan City Cup and Sydney Youth Cup before heading to this year’s ANC in Tasmania.
Finishing in second place was Justin Dinham. One of two Dinham brothers who bowled on the weekend, Justin is the younger brother of Jordan, who has had much success in the junior and youth circuit.
In his best performance at a ranked event, Justin finished with 4,597 pins, collecting bonus on only two of the final five matchplay games.
Finishing in third place was another bowler who has received much attention over the last few years – Ben Pettit. The 14-year-old sensation from New Zealand making his first trip to Australia to contend for a ranked event since making his debut at last year’s ANC was grateful for the experience.
“It was certainly different to New Zealand, way more competitive, and it was great to get some experience over here in a completely different environment,” said Pettit.
In the other events, Matthew Purser claimed the new u21 challenge title while Noah Rajkovic won the graded division. The Fletcher Family Sportsmanship Award winner was Chloe Greenham, who will receive a free bowling ball from event sponsors BDP Australia.
For all the results, head to https://bit.ly/3vs546k
Rankings have been processed and are available to view here
The next junior ranked event will be the Australian Junior Masters at ANC 2022 in late July at Zone Bowling Moonah in Tasmania.
Under 21 SQ Challenge Top 3
- Matthew Purser
- Jordan Harrold
- Luke Howell
Graded Top 3
- Noah Rajkovic
- Zavier Trajanovski
- Chelsea Purser
Fletcher Family Trophy Sportsmanship Award
BDP Rising Star Award
- Tayreese Morris
- Mason Marles