Our Bowls3Five Sky Sport league winners for 2021 were supposed to be crowned this week. Alas, a global pandemic scuttled the event.
Instead of dwelling on this disappointment, we are instead going to celebrate the success that is Bowls3Five.
Bowls3Five swept onto our television screens in a flurry of excitement in October of 2018.
Teams in this inaugural event were:
Point Chevalier Bowling Club, Stokes Valley Bowling Club, Woodend Bowling Club, Stoke Bowling Club, Royal Oak Bowls, and Gore Bowling Club.
New Lynn Bowling club buzzed for six weeks as the teams traded metaphorical blows for Bowls3Five supremacy!
As the dust settled on the 2018 League, four teams had something to play for come the last night.
The Royal Oak Rockets and the Woodend Jets were playing for the right to stay in the league and, the Gore Rams and the Point Chevalier Pirates were playing for the title of inaugural champions.
The Jets put up a great fight but were beaten by The Rockets, and so bid a fond farewell to the Bowls3Five Sky Sport league.
The Grand Final between The Rams and The Pirates was nothing short of electrifying.
The Pirates took full advantage of the Bowls3Five format and finished the evening as the 2018 Bowls3Five Champions through winning a tie breaking end with a bowl that put the jack in the ditch.
What a start to the format, and what a finish to the event!
Bowls3Five National Interclub was played for the first time in 2019 with the winner gaining a berth into the televised league.
Clubs from all around the country battled for the title, and forged in the fire of the Bowls3Five National Interclub, the Hinuera Heat were born.
It was decided to extend the size of the League and therefore two further teams were also invited to take part in the 2019 League; The Elmwood Park Saints, and The Bowls New Zealand Parajacks.
New Lynn again played host to the league, and once more the battle for Bowls3Five supremacy was broadcast live onto television screens all over New Zealand.
After eight weeks of intense competition, four teams again remained standing with something to play for:
The Point Chevalier Pirates, Stoke Thunder, Bowls New Zealand Parajacks and the Elmwood Park Saints.
In the relegation final for 2019, previous years’ champions, The Point Chevalier Pirates took on the Bowls New Zealand Parajacks.
The Pirates had lost their first game of the 2019 League to the Parajacks and were out to try and balance the ledger.
This they were able to do, and thus kept a place in the Bowls3Five Sky Sport League.
The Grand Final was another scintillating display of bowls at its best and the superstar studded Elmwood Park Saints team took on the equally impressive Stoke Thunder.
After a see-sawing two sets, and a maximum score of 12 points on one end, the game went into a tie breaking end!
A stunning bowl from Stoke Thunder’s Hodson saw him land a front toucher, with the Elmwood skip then unable to dislodge the bowl after two drives – turning the trophy and spoils over to the Thunder and rounding off a strong campaign for the Thunder, losing only three fixtures all season.
The 2020 edition of the Bowls3Five Sky Sport League was affected by pandemic restrictions, and only players were allowed on the broadcast rink.
The Manurewa Kites were the proverbial ‘new kids on the block’ for the 2020 event, winning their way into the Sky Sport League through a placing at the Bowls3Five National Interclub.
With the full might of the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club behind them, the Kites soared into the Sky Sport League.
In 2020, the Bowls3Five Sky Sport League relegation final was itself relegated, instead the bottom two teams at the completion of the league were given berths in the finals of the Bowls3Five National Interclub.
In 2020 those clubs were the Royal Oak Rockets, and the Hinuera Heat, neither team making their way back to the broadcast rink in New Lynn.
The 2020 Sky Sport League Grand Final was the first time the battle didn’t come down to ta tie-break end, and the youthful Stokes Valley Vipers toppled the experienced Elmwood Park Saints (the Saints having been in the final for the second year in a row!) in straight sets to be crowned the 2020 Champions.
The Bowls3Five Twilight league also kicked off in 2020 and clubs all around New Zealand embraced the concept of using Bowls3Five format for their social bowling, twilight, business house leagues.
The 2021 Bowls3Five Sky Sport League was to see the addition of two exciting new teams; The Hastings Hornets and The Nelson Spirit, having been the first and second placed teams respectively in the Bowls3Five Interclub event played out earlier in the year.
Sadly, the Bowls3Five Sky Sport League had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.
However, all eight teams who were due to have played in the Sky Sport League league have been given a berth into the rejuvenated Bowls3Five National Interclub Grand Final.
This event will feature every Centre winner, as well as the aforementioned eight teams from the cancelled 2021 league.
It will be festival of bowls and ably hosted at the Naenae Bowling Club from the 6th to the 8th of May 2022.
You won’t want to miss it!
We are proud of the Bowls3Five concept and have enjoyed bringing to life a league which lasted through three amazing years and a Pandemic.
Bowls3Five goes far beyond the confines of the television rink, though, and it is exciting to see Clubs and Centres around New Zealand adopting the format.
It’s here to stay.