Image: Ali Forsyth
As the clock rolls round to Tuesday night (November 13), it’s time to gear up for another blockbuster edition of the Bowls Premier League (BPL) – the popular fast-format that brings some of the world’s best players together and showcases the sport in a new light.
The BPL08, this time hosted by Club Pine Rivers in Brisbane, will showcase arguably the world’s best players battling it out for bowling supremacy among eight star-studded franchises and a share of the staggering $100,000 prize pool.
Among those franchises stand the hard-hitting New Zealand Blackjacks, a former winner and ferocious competitor surrounded by the Australian powerhouses.
Taking a short break from the popular Bowls3Five league at New Lynn, Stokes Valley Viper and teenage prodigy Seamus Curtin will be making his debut for the Blackjacks franchise, teaming up with recently crowned World Champion of Champion singles victor Jo Edwards and the welcome return of Ali Forsyth steering the ship at skip.
Adding to the thrill of the competition, five-times Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Alex Marshall will be out in force for the Brisbane Pirates, while four-time BPL champion Aron Sherriff will be out to achieve the unthinkable as he eyes an unprecedented fifth-consecutive victory, joining the Gold Coast Hawks in their bid to defend their recent title keep the BPL trophy.
For those new to the BPL format, the teams play 14 gruelling qualifying games, with four games showcased on the TV rink each evening on Sky Sport and Fox Sports respectively. Games are played as two sets of five ends in a pairs format, with a one end tie-breaker deciding the fate if the sets are tied. A substitute can be called on at any time, though must play a minimum of nine bowls over the 10-end fixtures- and line-up for the tie-break sudden death end where the format switches to two-bowl triples.
Throw in the Power Play strategy to double the points, 30-second shot clock, add loud music and cheering crowds, keep the beer flowing at the rinkside bar – and the stage is set for yet another entertaining showpiece at Pine Rivers.
The Blackjacks will get their campaign off to a start against the reigning champion Hawks outfit, the Brisbane Pirates and Sydney Lions before taking on the vocal Illawarra Gorillas on their first TV fixture of BPL08.
The Blackjack’s franchise will be coached by long-serving former New Zealand representative Richard Girvan.
All the action can be viewed on the Bowls Australia Facebook livestream throughout the day’s play, while the TV screenings will be broadcast on both SKY Sport NZ and Fox Sports from 5pm (AEST), commencing November 13 and running through to November 16.
Teams at a Glance:
Bowls Premier League 08, Club Pine Rivers, Brisbane
November 13-November 16, 2018, 5pm AEST (Sky Sport NZ, Fox Sports AUS)
Brisbane Pirates – Alex Marshall, Kelsey Cottrell, Michael Breen, Dave Edwards (Coach)
Club Helensvale Gold Coast Hawks – Aron Sherriff, Nathan Rice, Georgia White*, Mark Casey (Coach)
Silkari Illawarra Gorillas – Aaron Teys, Jeremy Henry, Kay Moran, Wes Falconer (Coach)
Blundstone Melbourne Roys – Aaron Wilson, Carla Krizanic, Barrie Lester, Ian Ewing (Coach)
Moama Murray Steamers – Ryan Bester, Michael Walker, Tiffany Brodie, Wayne Turley* (Coach)
New Zealand Blackjacks – Jo Edwards, Ali Forsyth, Seamus Curtin*, Richard Girvan* (Coach)
Blooms The Chemist Perth Suns – John Slavich, Kristina Krstic, Shane Knott*, Pieter Harris* (Coach)
BCiB Sydney Lions – Karen Murphy, Ray Pearse*, Scott Thulborn, Steve Glasson (Coach)
*Denotes debut appearance as player/and or coach.