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Best of Australian Bowls

By Lachlan Williams

BCiB Australian Jackaroo Aron Sherriff was one of the biggest winners as those involved in bowls across Australia celebrated the sport’s night of nights at Gold Coast’s Mantra on View last month.

Sherriff finished the evening with two awards to his name, collecting his already announced Male Bowler of the Year while edging out Barrie Lester to claim the International Male Bowler of the Year honour.

It was his fifth International Bowler of the Year award from just the nine that have been awarded, having also prevailed in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. Of the sole eligible event held during this period, the 2019 Asia Pacific Championships, Sherriff guided the Australian Jackaroos to both gold medals in disciplines he contested, skipping the men’s triples to victory over New Zealand in the first week, before repeating the dose in the men’s fours a week later.

Rebecca Van Asch edged out Lynsey Clarke as International Female Bowler of the Year after spearheading the nation’s gold medal-winning women’s pairs at the Asia Pacific Championships. Natasha Scott also collected her fifth Female Bowler of the Year award having finished the previous ranking period with 307 points.


Werribee’s Rhonda Edwards had her hard work recognised, winning the Volunteer of the Year award after spending an average of more than 30 hours a week volunteering her time in the role of Community, Events and Social Media Coordinator.

Neil Smilie (VIC) was recognised as Official of the Year, contributing to the latest edition of the Laws of the Sport, Crystal Mark 3rd Edition, Version 3.1, April 2019 to go with his 35 years of officiating.

Coach of the Year honours went to Queensland’s Alan Thorp for his ongoing involvement with the Queensland Sporting Wheelies Disability Team and other disabled bowlers in Queensland.

Suburban Bowling Club, Townsville (QLD) was named as Club of the Year, bouncing back from flooding of their green and clubhouse in February 2019 among other achievements.

Deer Park’s Josh Barry won the Bowler with a Disability of the Year award, after a stellar 12 months in open and disability categories.

(VIC) were named Under-18 Female and Male Bowler of the Year respectively.

Bourke secured a second successive singles title at the Australian Under-18 Championships for Victoria before relocating to Tweed Heads to further her game. In June of this year, she notched up the junior double, claiming the Australian Open’s under-18 girls’ singles accolade.

Davies also enjoyed great success, winning the Male Pairs and taking out the Vic Open Medal at the 2018 Victorian Open, claiming gold in both the boys’ singles and pairs at the 2018 Australian Under-18 Championships and winning the 2019 Australian Open under-18 boys’ singles title.

With the best of 2019 awarded, a cast of individuals who have contributed to Australian bowls for many years was also recognised with Hall of Fame induction or elevation to Legend status.

Edda Bonutto, Brett Duprez, Brett Wilkie and Don Sherman were all inducted into the Hall of Fame, while Keith Poole, Norma Massey, Merle Richardson, John Dobbie and Daphne Shaw earned elevation to become Legends of Australian bowls.

MakMax Volunteer of the Year

Winner: Rhonda Edwards (Werribee, VIC)
Runner up: Gayle Young (Canberra, ACT)
BLK Official of the Year
Winner: Neil Smilie (Burden Park, VIC)
Runner up: Michael Goble-Garratt (Willetton, WA) City of Gold Coast Coach of the Year Winner: Alan Thorp (Bowls Queensland)

Runner up: Matt Flapper (Bowls Victoria)

Stockland Retirement Living Club of the Year

Winner: Suburban Townsville (Queensland)

Runner up: Sorrento (WA)

Bolton Clarke Bowler with a Disability of the Year

Winner: Josh Barry (Deer Park, VIC)

Runner up: Jake Fehlberg (Burleigh Heads, QLD)

BCiB Insurance Brokers Under-18 Female Bowler of the Year

Winner: Kira Bourke (Tweed Heads, QLD)

Runner up: Jorja Maughan (Buckingham, TAS)

BCiB Insurance Brokers Under-18 Male Bowler of the Year

Winner: Jarryd Davies (Essendon, VIC)

Runner up: Jake Rynne (North Toowoomba, QLD)

Tourism and Events Queensland Male Bowler of the Year

Winner: Aron Sherriff (Club Helensvale, QLD)

Tourism and Events Queensland Female Bowler of the Year

Winner: Natasha Scott (Raymond Terrace, NSW)

Commonwealth Games Australia International Female Bowler of the Year

Winner: Rebecca Van Asch (Invermay, TAS)
Runner up: Lynsey Clarke (Club Helensvale, QLD)
Sport Australia International Male Bowler of the Year Winner: Aron Sherriff (Club Helensvale, QLD)
Runner up: Barrie Lester (Melbourne, VIC)
2019 Bowls Australia Hall of Fame Inductees
Edda Bonutto (deceased) Brett Duprez
Don Sherman (deceased) Brett Wilkie
2019 Bowls Australia Hall of Fame Legend Inductees

John Dobbie (deceased)
Norma Massey OAM (deceased) Daphne Shaw

Keith Poole OAM (deceased) Merle Richardson OAM

Article Bowls Australia

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